Earlier this week, Premier Oiwoh, MD and CEO of Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) met with Dilip Asbe, MD and CEO of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), and Ritesh Shukla, CEO of NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL) in Mumbai.
The trio had a “productive discussion” on financial inclusion and electronic payments, NIBSS disclosed on X. This meeting comes a few days after the Nigerian government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India’s ministry of electronics and information technology to “share best-in-class digital solutions for the benefit of the citizens of both countries”.
Before the MoU, we reported that the Indian government is planning to drive cross-border payments in Africa through the expansion of its Unified Payments Interface (UPI), via commercial partnerships between payment platforms. UPI can be likened to the NIBSS; an instant payment settlement network that connects Nigerian banks.
NPCI conducted the pilot launch of UPI in April 2016. It is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood. It also caters to the “Peer to Peer” collect request which can be scheduled and paid as per requirement and convenience.
Recently, NPCI integrated with Singapore’s PayNow. Thereby, allowing transfers on the PayNow Virtual Payment Address (VPA) the same way domestic transfers work on UPI.
According to Olu Akanmu, the former President of Opay Nigeria, “Nigeria can also learn from India and more deliberately tightly couple its siloed and diverse digital public infrastructure (DPI) to have a true ‘Nigerian Stack’ as a catalyst for its accelerated financial inclusion intent, strong digital economy and inclusive economic growth.”
“I have a lot of respect for the impressive strides the India Stack has had on driving financial inclusion and I believe that using the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS platform) and National Identity Number (NIN) as foundations, we could create our own "Nigeria Stack" to financially include millions of Nigerians,” says Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave's co-founder and CEO. “There's a lot of similarities between India and Nigeria.”
“The Indian expansion for Flutterwave will be the first African company to do that at a scale where remittances from India to Africa become seamless and quick,” he added.
“In the specific context of the Nigeria financial inclusion programme, some critical questions to ask among others would include: How do we ensure account opening happens at the point of NIN registration going forward to capture the financial inclusion opportunity right where the excluded come for NIN registration? What digital infrastructure coordination, would we need between NIMC and NIBSS and the broader ecosystem (financial and non-financial) to make this happen?”, Akanmu added.