Leading financial institution, Access Bank Plc., in collaboration with the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), highlighted the importance of digital innovation and strategic partnerships among stakeholders in the financial sector, as the bank hosted industry experts and tech enthusiasts to the third edition of AFF Disrupt Conference on Thursday, 16 May, 2019 at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island.

Themed ‘Digital Goldrush: Building a Sustainable Tech Economy’, the conference showcased the growing value of data as the future currency of the new tech economy through loads of interactive, fun and engaging sessions, world-class speakers and a phenomenal array of exhibitors who are industry and thought leaders in the technology space.

Giving his opening speech, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc., Herbert Wigwe recognized the improvement in global financial processes by advancements in technology and assured that the Bank is keeping up with the trends.

“There was a time when payments could only be made through cheques, but with technology, transactions worth billions can be made in seconds. That is how much the world has changed. As a result, Access Bank has continued to innovate through the creation and adoption of modern banking tools and by leveraging on partnerships with FinTechs such as AFF to reinvent and modernize our banking processes,” he said.

A highlight of the conference was the demo pitch session which saw various innovators showcase their applications and new technology, explaining the solutions created to teeming participants. At the end of an intense session, Gricd, whose product, GRICD Frij is an affordable and portable cold chain device for efficient storage of vaccines, blood and other health/agricultural products won, earning a grant of $10,000.

In his keynote address, the Chief Executive Officer of Moven, United Kingdom, Brett King emphasized the importance of technology adoption to banking processes and also addressed the growing fear of robots replacing humans in the banking halls.

He explained that banking no longer depended on physical spaces, which has reduced the friction in banking processes and massively increased delivery.

“Technology is moving faster than ever before and in an environment with such rapid change, you either disrupt or get disrupted. Hence, if you are resistant to change as a banker in an evolving ecosystem like Nigeria’s, we need to start helping you look for a job outside banking,” he said.

At the conference, speakers and panelists identified women as key proponents to ensure the growth and success of financial technology in Nigeria, urging them to be more collaborative and assertive in seeking to disrupt the Nigerian digital space.

Emphasizing the point, the Chairman, Zinox Group Nigeria, Leo Stan Ekeh, during an interactive session with Access Bank’s Deputy Group Managing Director, Roosevelt Ogbonna said, “Women are the smartest money makers and disruptors. Investors are looking to invest in female entrepreneurs and techpreneurs working together. So it has become more imperative that women begin to take advantage of these opportunities and the collective power that they have”.

Other speakers at the event include Bunmi Akinyemiju, Chief Executive Officer, Venture Garden Group; Boye Ademola, Partner and Lead for Digital Transformation, KPMG, Nigeria; Phil Spencer, Executive Vice-President, Gaming, Microsoft, United States of America; Reginald Kawarusa, Executive Commisioner: Legal and Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commision; Sam Okojere, Director of Payments and Settlements, Central Bank of Nigeria; Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer, MainOne; Segun Aina, President, Fintech Association of Nigeria, among others.