Expert Roundup — What To Expect in the Next 5 Years

“Òní la rí, kò sí ẹni tó m’ọ̀la.” Today is what we all know; no one knows tomorrow for certain.

We recently had a conversation with some industry experts who have predicted some of the changes likely to occur in the coming years and the role digital identity will play.

Here are some things you need to look out for over the next five years.

From the perspective of your industry, what would Africa’s/Nigeria’s digital economy look like in 2025, and what role would digital identity play?

Seun Oyediran, Country Manager Lendigo

Seun Oyediran, Country Manager Lendigo

The Digital Lending space has become unglued in the last several years, especially with the entry of many enabling tech companies providing support to the financial industry. This includes but is not limited to upstarts in digital identity, lead generation, loan application infrastructure (IaaS), account statement connectors, and payment & collection companies. These support service tech businesses are making it easier for a digital lender to acquire, underwrite, and process collection from a first-time borrower.

In the next 5years, consumers expect to have their identity digitally stored for both financial and non-financial transactions. There would be a higher emphasis on verifiable address verification and human identification without a need for a physical 3rd party verification, especially for non-lending use cases. Some companies are focused on a digital end-to-end verification process by using existing digital tools such as mobile phones ONLY. If the market accepts this, the cost of address verification can come down drastically to as low as $1 per customer. The use case for digital identity has expanded beyond lending. Industries in the food delivery, insurance business, last-mile delivery, e-commerce segment, and Governmental Organizations (including Embassies) would require address and identity verification to be done swiftly.

Once Covid-19 is behind us, more global investors will recognize the significance of investing in Nigeria’s tech industry. In general, we have just started to witness the emergence of Nigeria as an African financial giant. The next few years would prove that there is money to be made at the bottom of the pyramid and more financial power players would not just recognize this but would start to target the underserved due to a better enabling tech environment.

Oti Ukubeyinje, Ad Ops & Sales (Nigeria) Opera

Oti Ukubeyinje, Ad Ops & Sales (Nigeria) Opera

With how dynamic things can be in Nigeria, it is a long shot to make a 2025 forecast. We have been expecting digital identity unification since 2017 when BVN and NIN were widely popular. Earlier in 2020, a committee was set up including the likes of Joe Abah. Then in December, an unexpected deadline for NIN-SIM linking was announced.

That being said, the pace of adoption and enforcement is encouraging. If all GSM subscribers get a digital ID by Q1 2021, I foresee unification completed by the end of 2022 guaranteed the FG maintains the same energy and focus.

This would create room for fully digital products to properly take off, especially in financial services; from loans, insurance, etc. It would also help in developing the security infrastructure in the country.

This is music to my ears for marketing and advertising because between 2022–2025, all things being equal, we would have built a solid credit rating system and unified consumer financial information. This will serve as the backbone for both the banked and unbanked that will help us profile users correctly and build relevant audience segments with key insights like household income and purchasing power.

This will allow platforms like Facebook, Google and Opera to unleash their full advertising services capabilities in this market. It will also create room for local marketing technology companies to spring up with unique value propositions built around individual consumers.

By 2025, loads of digital services would be ready to take off and service Nigerians in their small pockets, without needing gigantic capital to build mass products before reaping economic benefits. It will be the year of tech-powered SMEs with access to marketing solutions for growth and profitability.

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