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How many Fintech talents does Nigeria need?

How many Fintech talents does Nigeria need?
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This is the key question that the Fintech industry wants the Federal Government to address in advancing Nigeria’s financial inclusion drive.

The poser was raised at the Lagos Fintech Week 2020 held virtually last week to advance growth agenda for the emerging Fintech sector in the country.

Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), who delivered the event keynote, says it is time for the banking and telecoms regulators, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) respectively, to join forces with other stakeholders to conduct a national talent needs survey.

How many Fintech talents does Nigeria need? 1
Mr Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON)

The ISPON President says the specific competencies identified by the survey will provide the starting point for Fintech professionals, HR, educators, and policymakers to understand what skills are needed in the industry.

Fintech and Human Resources (HR) experts who spoke at the Fintech Talent Summit – a co-located but focused event – within the annual Lagos Fintech Week 2020 share the common position that such a talent survey would empower the education and training centres to develop relevant programmes that enable students to gain access to the Fintech and HR industry with maximum preparedness.

“The industry is regarded as a dominant force in Africa. However, despite the huge potential of Fintech, access to and retention of best-in-class talents is a growing concern within the industry.”

“The Nigeria Fintech ecosystem has become a leading network in Africa’s financial service industry through innovative solutions in lendtech, insurtech and wealthtech among others.

“The industry is regarded as a dominant force in Africa. However, despite the huge potential of Fintech, access to and retention of best-in-class talents is a growing concern within the industry”, according to the experts.

According to a PwC report in 2017, 77% of CEOs surveyed view skills shortages as business threats with Mba-Uzoukwu further explaining that the industry’s skill shortages straddle both hard and soft skills.

“Not only technical skills, but also specific communication and response behaviours that are highly valued in the Fintech industry”, he told attendees at Lagos Fintech Week 2020.

The PwC report shows the hard skills shortfalls in sectors like communication, creativity, high emotional quotient (EQ), block chain, programming languages such as Python, C++, C#, GoLang, SQL, JavaScript and Java ML, AI, Deep Learning and cybersecurity.

Speaking on the Community-as-a-Service (CaaS): Connecting with the right Talent for Current and Future Opportunities, Professor Abiodun Aibinu, Head of Department, Mechanical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Minna, identified 10 skills that are relevant to the future of work.

He listed EQ, critical thinking, active learning with growth mindset and judgment as well as decision making. Others include interpersonal communication, leadership, diversity and cultural intelligence, technological and embracing skills.

On his part, Executive Director at Innovectives Group, Ayo Oladimeji said “for us as Fintech experts, our talent pool is our greatest asset. And this goes a long way to determine growth and success of the venture.

“To grow and achieve the mission of the business, we must help our team members to thrive by providing an inclusive and progressive work atmosphere,” Oladimeji says.

The Fintech and HR professionals that also spoke at the summit include the Director General, Ekiti State Directorate of ICT, Dr. Hakeem Bakare; founder, Programmos Limited, Amos Emmanuel; CEO, Spacepointe, Sayu Abend; and CEO, Computic Limited, Moses Braimah.

Others include the founder and CEO of Riby Finance, Salami Abolore; Team Lead, Innfact Concepts, Akinbowale Alabi; the CTO, Inits Limited, Femi Taiwo and Head of Engineering at SystemSpecs, Mujib Ishola.

The faculty also had the CTO and Executive Director at Precise Financial Systems, Osifalujo Adedotun; Head, HR and admin, United Securities, Omobolanle Imafidon as well as the Chief Operating Officer, Automarket, Timi Tope Olagunoye.

Founder of Technology Times, Shina Badaru; Co-Founder/CEO, Ebanqo, Inc, Charles Ifedi; Group Head, Ringer One Africa Media (Roam), Tunde Adeniran; and Co-Founder, Social Lender, Bade Adesemowo, among others.

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