Reaching the Unbanked — MTN to Shake up Nigeria’s Fintech Sector
By Lexi Novitske
In the latest bullish development, OPay, founded by Norwegian browser company Opera and which includes lead investors such as Sequoia China, raised $50m to partly fund its expansion in Nigeria. Thanks to regulatory reforms, however, the company best positioned to transform Nigeria’s fintech sector and its entire financial services industry is MTN.
Last year, MTN, the country’s leading telecom operator, announced plans to offer mobile banking services. With the country’s largest subscriber base, MTN will put pressure on Nigerian fintech startups, triggering consolidation in the sector. But, local fintech companies should embrace MTN rather than fear it. MTN’s move into payments represents a sea change for Nigeria’s tech ecosystem. Not only will it boost Nigeria’s low financial inclusion rate, but it will also foster innovation and deepen Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, pushing it beyond payments and into other mobile services.
Photo courtesy of John O’Bryan.