Fintech Industry⸺the Market, the Legal & Regulatory Framework, and Intellectual Property Protection


Fintech (Financial Technology) is the new technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial institutions in the delivery of financial services. In other words, Fintech companies leverage on technology to deliver services similar to that offered by conventional financial institutions (e.g. banks), usually with added benefits and ease. Some, examples are ALAT⸺Nigeria’s first digital bank, by Wema Bank⸺and Paylater, an indigenous online-loan provider. Fintech may broadly classify into Fintech startups and established financial institutions that leverage on technology to enhance the scope of their financial services. I’ll be focusing on Fintech startups.


Fintech has been applied in disrupting the delivery of asset management, mobile payments, loan transfers and loans. For instance, M-Pesa⸺a Fintech provider based in Kenya⸺allows Kenyans without bank accounts to transfer cash, buy airtime, pay bills, and purchase goods and services without the use of cash. M-Pesa does this by simply transferring a value from one phone to another from a float balance.


Though relatively new, Fintech is a high-growth sector. From 2008 to 2014, global investments in Fintech grew from $930 million to $12 billion annually. In other words, the Fintech industry grew by an average of $2 billion each year. According to the Office of the Mayor London, 40% of the London workforce is employed in the Fintech sector. But those are not the only things surprising about the Fintech industry. According to the 2017 Report of the Global Payments Innovation Jury, Africa is the 3rd most lucrative market because of the difficulty encountered by traditional banking institutions in reaching the entire market. Africa is behind Asia and Europe in this regard, but ahead of North America, South America, and Australia. Nigeria’s share of this investment for the past years has exceeded $200 million. The same report anticipates that the Fintech industry would grow to well over $45 billion.

The Fintech industry is growing rapidly and the growth is global, but as would be expected of technology-driven innovations, there are massive opportunities just as there are threats. Let’s use a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to take a closer look at Nigeria’s Fintech industry.

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