The forces shaping the digital economy and future of financial services in Africa are playing out profoundly in Nigeria. We see this week as an opportunity to learn, from one of the largest and most innovative countries, about how these forces will play out and where our work at insight2impact across digital economy, digital financial services and digital skills can assist. Hennie Bester, insight2impact lead

Our financial services needs are evolving as our economies and societies become increasingly connected and digital. Nigeria is spearheading the innovation journey in Africa and has demonstrated the potential of the financial sector to enable a more inclusive digital economy. Herman Smit, i2i Africa Digital Platforms lead 

Homegrown digital platforms create new opportunities for digital financial services and data science in Nigeria 

With Nigeria-based Jumia’s announcement of its IPO last month, it is set to become the first African tech unicorn worth over USD1 billion. According to new research from insight2impact, digital platforms like Jumia that connect buyers and sellers of goods and services across Africa are on the rise. This research shows that across Africa there are nearly 300 digital platforms, of which 80% are homegrown, providing income-generating opportunities to more than 4.8 million Africans. 

The interactions between buyers and sellers of goods and services on these digital platforms are creating new opportunities for data science and digital financial services. These platforms often require users to receive income into bank accounts, make digital payments or have insurance to offset the risk associated with the goods and services they are buying or selling. In Nigeria, 27 digital platforms already offer financial services.

These new entrants are welcomed in a country where only 30% of adults made or received a digital payment in the last year (compared to nearly 80% in Kenya). Research from insight2impact shows there is a positive relationship between digital payments usage and e-commerce usage. Accelerating the adoption of digital payments is thus critical for enabling individuals to access the changing digital landscape and to benefit from it. 

The platforms also house data on these interactions that can be used to improve existing business or add new business lines – for example digital credit to merchants or third-party liability insurance for carriers or e-hailing drivers. insight2impact’s DataHack4FI competition aims to catalyse Nigeria’s robust data science community and their interest in using these skills to solve financial and economic exclusion issues. 

This week, a team of experts from insight2impact, together with Data Science Nigeria and Lagos Business school, will host three events in Nigeria to explore the interplay between the digital economy, digital financial services and digital skills. 

insight2impact engagements

  • 9 April: Digital platforms and the future of financial services in Nigeria in partnership with Lagos Business School
  • 10 April: Accelerating the adoption of digital payments in Nigeria in partnership with Data Science Nigeria and Lagos Business School 
  • 11 April: Datahack4FI innovation competition meet-up in partnership with Data Science Nigeria and CC-Hub

If you’re interested in attending any of the events or meeting with us while we are in Nigeria, please contact our Partnership Manager, Mari-Lise du Preez, at  

Note to Editors

The insight2impact team of data experts will be in Nigeria from Monday 8 April to Friday 12 April and will be available for interviews. Contact: Eden D’Oliveira, insight2impact communications team at or on +27 21 913 9510.  

About insight2impact

insight2impact is a global resource centre that seeks to improve the design and delivery of digital financial services through smarter uses of data. The insight2impact programme is jointly hosted by Cenfri and FinMark Trust and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation.