On February 23rd 2017, the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with NIBSS Plc organized an innovators’ breakfast fast forum to chart a course for enabling innovation within the Nigerian financial services industry convening representatives from the Fintech ecosystem comprising unlicensed and licensed players, local innovation hubs, fintech enthusiasts. At this forum, three (3) working groups namely; the Association/ FundRaising working group, Innovation Sandbox / Technical Standards working group and Knowledge Sharing/Education working group were constituted to deliberate further on the challenges and barriers to innovation.
A follow-up innovators’ breakfast forum themed ‘Empower Fintech Startups and facilitate Payment Innovation in Nigeria’ was organized again by the Central Bank of Nigeria in conjunction with the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS Plc.) on July 7, 2017 at Virgin Rose Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. At this forum, the Financial Services Innovators Association (FSI) was born. Representatives from the Fintech ecosystem of both licensed and unlicensed players, representatives from NIBSS and CBN agreed to work together doggedly to build a framework that would engender innovation, build trust, strengthen operational practices and governance as well as provide a platform for Fintech startups to thrive. The primary mandate of FSI was to achieve CBN’s mandate of enabling innovation among Fintechs within a supervised framework and to project a common voice. FSI’s role also entailed policy advocacy and was charged with the responsibility of organizing capacity building workshops and fora in collaboration with the CBN on policies and guidelines. Through these fora, the CBN will feel the pulse of the startups and further enlighten them.