Channel VAS CEO shares his vision on future of Fintech at Africa Com.
“If you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far let’s do it together”. Using this African saying to close his keynote speech for Fintech during Africa Com, Bassim Haidar, Channel VAS founder and CEO, called all parties for cooperation in order to address all challenges and explore all opportunities that emerging markets can offer.
Channel VAS had an impressive presence in Africa Com, which took place in Cape Town, South Africa on November 13-15, leading the Fintech Africa track of the event and opening it with Mr. Haidar’s keynote speech.
According to Mr Haidar there is such a massive potential in the fintech market that there is room for everyone. “But if we are going to compete each other everyone is going to lose”, he added, urging regulators, banks, mobile network operators and of course fintech companies to find the right formula for cooperation. Using Channel VAS findings, showing that there is a shift in favor of the volume of data that the consumer shares directly through apps and smartphones, Mr Haidar highlighted that a common road from all players would be beneficial not only for fintech companies but also for operators. As he explained, the amount of data companies can now collect from apps is 4 times richer than those from mobile operators.
Also, he pointed out that one big barrier for financial inclusion is the way that regulation from various sectors is over protecting consumer’s data, creating isolated environments. Such data control is out of date and doesn’t give people the chance to ride on the digital highways. Instead, a responsible data sharing policy should be adopted. He believes that regulators need to sit down and figure out how “we can consolidate all this data from various sectors and put it in a central data base that actually allows the consumer to give consent to companies to use them in order to provide them with services”.
Low market share of smartphones is an opportunity
For Channel VAS and Bassim Haidar specifically, smartphone’s low market share in emerging markets is an opportunity, not a barrier. He believes that the solution of the vicious circle of financial inclusion is making smartphone’s acquisition affordable for the unbanked people, something that Channel VAS has been able to offer through handset loans. “By providing them a smartphone, people can easily get in the digital and financial systems” he emphasized.
As for the future, he believes that it will not be about mobile money. “It is going to be about lending directly the consumers through apps”. For him “virtual wallet is the future”, a rich variety of services that can be delivered to consumers through smartphones.
During Africa Com, Channel VAS was the focal point for many visitors and our executives had a lot of important business meetings in which they were able to show our fintech solutions and services. Of particular importance was the meeting between the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Chairman, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye and Bassim Haidar. During this meeting Senator Durojaiye congratulated Channel VAS founder and CEO for his company’s achievements commending our continuous growth and the latest investment of $50 million USD from South Africa-based Ethos.
"It gives me great pleasure to watch the continuous growth of Channel VAS, a company that has originated out of Nigeria" stated Senator Durojaiye. "Its achievements, including a continuously growing global footprint, patenting of innovative intellectual properties internationally and drawing the interest of large investment groups worldwide, are truly commendable. NCC and myself personally will continue our unwavering support to companies like Channel VAS to grow even more and honor their origins."
Another highlight of Channel VAS presence was Yannis Benlachtar’s participation in panel discussion about "Fintech Driving the Digital Transformation of Banking". Our Chief Commercial Officer for Mobile Financial Services, talked about the need of cooperation between parties which will offer more benefits than a competition between fintech disruptors and traditional Incumbents. Also, he shared his thoughts about the next phase of fintech market, which is beyond remittances and lending, the need for a uniform policy framework and how the existing regulation is blocking “finnovation” in Africa.
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