Africa’s digital future is gradually taking shape. In the last decade, the continent has pursued aggressive digitalization in a bid to formalize its economy and also take advantage of the economic and social benefits it brings.
For instance, in the banking sector, banks have initiated a number of digital solutions to make banking easier for their customers. However, the rate of digital penetration is still at the nascent stage in many Africa states.
In Nigeria, one entrepreneur is seeking to accelerate digital banking. Oke Afolabi is the co-founder of Global InfoSwift Consulting Limited (GICL), a Lagos-based IT company that provides solutions and services to Nigerian financial institutions and beyond. In his role as CEO of GICL, Afolabi provides strategic direction, articulates a corporate vision, mission, and strategy as well as values that define the culture of the team.
“Everything is changing and the newer generation are coming up with these great ideas, so banks need to evolve too,” said Afolabi, in an interview with Nigerian media. “It’s been nice that I can make an impact. I hope that I can leave a legacy like Martin Luther King Jr. says ‘never follow where the path may lead rather follow where there is no path and leave a trail.'”
InfoSwift also partners CR2, an African market leader in digital banking solutions, to provide banks with Digital, Self-Service and Payments solutions to grow their business, optimize their customer service cost and deliver an enhanced customer experience.
CR2, which is based in Ireland, enables over 100 banks in 60 countries to seamlessly connect and engage with their customers on the most critical banking channels today.
Global Infoswift’s partnership with CR2 is an ongoing successful relationship that has highlighted the importance of the self-service channels in supporting Nigeria’s retail banking growth, with the deployment of CR2’s BankWorld Suite of products, according to PRwire.
The partnership enhances the impact and effectiveness of action through combined and more efficient use of resources, it promotes innovation and it is distinguished by a strong commitment displayed by both parties in jointly delivering projects like Access Bank Plc. which is currently one of the biggest banks in Africa.
Afolabi places his work within the context of the potential for growth in Nigeria’s digital economy. Africa’s biggest economy is looking to prepare its young population for the digitalized future by offering federal-backed services expected to accelerate innovation in different sectors of Nigerian life.
A 10-year National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy expected stated that significant improvement in the current broadband penetration of 35.4% is critical for the development of a digital economy in Nigeria. For every 10% increment in broadband penetration, Nigeria expects to grow its GDP by 1.6%.
“We’re a massive country,” said Afolabi, adding that more than half of his country’s population are younger than 24. We’re growing, and we have this huge, youthful population. What’s going to happen when the country’s economy relies on these people to drive it forward? How will they fund themselves and be aware of their finances?”
In May 2013, Afolabi facilitated a financial service seminar in Ireland to inspire Irish businesses to see opportunities in Nigeria. This resulted in the Irish government making it possible for many Irish businesses to enter Nigerian markets.
Beyond seeking to accelerate digital banking, Afolabi is a sought-after speaker who provides mentorship for the youth, start-up seed funding, and entrepreneur development.