The story and evolution of fintech in Nigeria would be incomplete without acknowledging the significant strides of Interswitch in the last 20 years.
The payment giant has continued to push the boundaries of innovation to deliver payment solutions that enable commerce to thrive across Africa.
The company serves as an enabler in the African Fintech ecosystem, a duty it has conferred on itself with a deep sense of responsibility, realizing that several of its platforms form the framework on which many players in the ecosystem have built their offerings.
Actually, December will be the 20th year of Interswitch in operation, but it made a decision to commemorate the 2 decades in business on August 30 at Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The anniversary started with a media parley – interaction with members of the press and the top management team at Interswitch.
NeverStop Brand Campaign
As part of the celebration, Interswitch launched a new brand campaign (NeverStop) to project its positioning as a pioneering and integral enabler that has not only actively supported the growth and development of fintech and payments across Africa over the last 20 years.
The campaign also seeks to amplify the brand’s progressive outlook as a frontier-driving company that keeps pushing boundaries and facilitating the creation of new ecosystems that help businesses and individuals scale and thrive, in line with its purpose of inspiring Africa to greatness through innovation, value-creation, and excellence.
Over the next 6 months, the company intends to progressively unveil a line-up of brand campaigns, commemorative events, and thought-leadership initiatives centered around this significant corporate milestone on a Pan-African level.
In the words of Mitchell Elegbe, Founder & Group CEO, “Today, as we flag off our celebrations, there is quite a lot of excitement within Interswitch, but also some deep reflection as we look back on the journey of the last two decades—twenty years of transforming Africa’s digital economy.
“Interswitch was founded to solve a social problem—to make people’s lives easier when it came to payments, transactions, and access to their funds.
We saw a way to do this by developing products and services with the consumer at the heart, leading with technology and innovation.
As is the case with many pioneers, while we navigated uncharted waters, there were times when we pushed ahead with absolutely no assurances and were buoyed up by just sheer tenacity and grit.
At those times, the big picture kept us going. It was our realm to deliver a prosperous Africa, driven by a seamless exchange of value and commerce.”
Elegbe goes on to assert that the foregoing was the foundation upon which Interswitch’s two flagship products, Quickteller and Verve, were created – born from the over-arching mission to solve problems and focused on delivering comprehensive solutions for individuals to make everyday payments, to help connect and simplify the lives of our consumers across the continent.
Capturing the essence of Interswitch’s new ‘Never Stop’ campaign, Cherry Eromosele, the company’s Executive Vice-President for Group Marketing and Communications stated that “anniversaries not only give the chance to celebrate how far we’ve come in our journey but also provide the opportunity to stop, reflect and launch out again with fresh passion, a renewed zeal, and a clearer vision.
This is what underpins the philosophy that has given rise to #NeverStop. As we look ahead, we see enormous potential for future growth and the furthering of our vision.
The outlook is rapidly evolving; the payment giant sees the application of digital payments as being sector-agnostic and, with the increasing adoption of technology and digital payments across Nigeria and Africa, opportunities to broaden the fintech/payments landscape continue to present themselves”.
From Elegbe’s perspective, the runway for growth remains significant as well over 50% of Nigeria is still unbanked or underbanked and 85% of transactions in sub-Saharan Africa still occur in cash.
He opines that “today, technology is at the forefront of society and will continue to play a significant role in how we work and live. Nigeria is fast becoming the tech capital of Africa, with one of the fastest-growing tech markets in the world.
Interswitch has always been focused on the bigger picture, with the understanding that “going it alone” is not the answer, and that we do better by working together.
Building a profitable, thriving business has been important, but in order to achieve our purpose of Inspiring Africa to Greatness, we had to play our part in providing an enabling environment for the holistic ecosystem to thrive”.
Undoubtedly, Interswitch disrupted the traditional cash-based payments value chain in Nigeria by supporting the introduction of electronic payment processing and switching services.
However, Mitchell acknowledges that the challenge of payment in Nigeria still persists.
“Payment is still a problem, some of the problems we encounter today still exist,” Interswitch boss said.
“We haven’t solved the problem until people can pay for their taxes online, pay for their insurance and make any form of payment online.”
Interswitch is a leading player with critical mass across Africa’s developing financial ecosystem and is active across the payments value chain, providing a full suite of omnichannel payment solutions.
Interswitch’s vision is that of a prosperous Africa, driven by a seamless exchange of value and commerce and its mission is to create technology solutions that connect and empower individuals, businesses, and communities.
According to Mitchell, Interswitch will continue to create and facilitate technology solutions and platforms that support a variety of industry ecosystems that help commerce evolve, businesses grow, and individuals thrive, with solutions and services that are secure and provide convenience and real value for consumers, whilst also improving operational efficiency and driving sustainable revenue growth for businesses.
Interswitch’s broad network and robust payments platform have been instrumental to the development of the Nigerian payments ecosystem and provide Interswitch with the infrastructure to expand across Africa.