The CEO of Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, has said that fintech companies must go beyond sending and receiving the money to maximize the potential of digital technology. According to him, processing payment is just the starting point for what digital technology can do. Agboola stated this while speaking to a group of MBA students at the Harvard Business School (HBS) on January 24th, 2023.
Contributions to the economy: Emphasising the roles of fintechs in national economic growth, Agboola said:
- “To maintain momentum and continue making meaningful contributions to the growth of national economies, Fintech companies must understand that processing payment is just the starting point. We must create add-on values for individuals and businesses to maximize the potentials of digital technology beyond sending and receiving money.”
Sharing his experience with Flutterwave which started processing payments for companies like Uber and Airpeace, but has now added e-commerce, and international transfer to the services it provides, Agboola identified a lack of trust from potential customers, partners, and government officials, fragmented payments across the continent, and non-availability of local talent, especially for technical roles, as part of the main challenges faced at the initial stage of establishing Africa’s most valuable startup. “Yet my love for using my knowledge and network to solve problems for people, including those they are unaware of, helped us to persist and provide the payment infrastructure that supports businesses in Africa and global businesses like Uber seeking to expand into Africa,” he said.
Personal lessons: Speaking of his lessons and experiences as an entrepreneur in Africa, Agboola noted that:
- “Strategic collaborations and partnerships between all relevant domestic and foreign stakeholders are critical to helping emerging economies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America effectively leverage digital transformation for inclusive and sustainable development.
- “This is because solving the payment problems is not and will never be through one man’s dream or a company’s efforts. That shows that, indeed, the popular African proverb: “it takes a village to raise a child,” is so true with payment solutions in emerging economies.”
The lecture was moderated by Hakeem Belo-Osagie, an entrepreneur, a Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a member of the Harvard University Global Advisory Board.