KAMPALA —Over 5,000 people attended Big Cabal Media’s Future of Commerce 2022 event at the Balmoral Convention Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, last week. Tagged “Money on the Streets,” notable thought leaders around the continent and the world explored innovative ways in which startups and large corporations cater to the needs of Africa’s informal sector.
The hybrid event featured over 30 business leaders, technology experts, and commerce operators who discussed how social media, payments, and logistics are powering the growth of Africa’s commerce.
In his opening address, Tomiwa Aladekomo, CEO of Big Cabal Media, reiterated the company’s belief that the next wave of commerce on the continent is in unlocking value in the informal sector.
“The rapid evolution of fintech services is accelerating financial inclusion by driving efficiency, lowering transaction costs, and expanding outreach to new markets. We see this in a country like Kenya, a pioneer in mobile money services, where eight in ten adults have access to formal financial services,” Tomiwa stated.
Building on this, Tosin Eniolorunda, CEO and Founder of TeamApt, shared in his keynote address, the role technology must play in building trust in the informal market: “Businesses in the informal market have had several disasters while engaging with traditional corporate organisations, which has increased scepticism over time. To succeed, technological solutions must enable rapid settlements as well as decentralised and personalised customer service,” he said.
User adoption continues to be a challenge for most technology solutions including those developed to enhance financial inclusion. Dr Olabisi, Lead Research at KasuWaGo, recommended that these solutions must be simplified further to scale adoption. “We need to reimagine the use of technology for small businesses in the informal sector. Tech products could be built such that users won’t have to read much to interact with the app. That is a great way to scale adoption of such products,” he said.
With Africa accounting for 70% of the World’s $1 trillion mobile money market, mobile money is at the heart of Africa’s economic growth. This subject was discussed by speakers who unanimously agreed that mobile money will play a fundamental role in financial inclusion and market expansion opportunities for both medium-scale and well-established businesses.
Esigie Aguele, Co-founder and CEO of VerifyMe, commented on the business prospects and user integration of mobile money, saying, “Mobile money enhances the technological opportunities for all forms of payments and payment solutions. It enables us to go beyond open banking and create products that promote widespread financial inclusion.”
In addition to the deeply insightful sessions, attendees were able to network during breaks and were also entertained by the musical performance of Nigerian alte artiste, Bolaji Odojukan popularly known as BOJ.
Inspired by the recommendations from the Future of Commerce debut event last year, Big Cabal Media unveiled a “Commerce in Africa” industry projection report as one of the highlights of FOC 2022.
The Future of Commerce is an annual convergence of the world’s most prominent business executives, creative entrepreneurs, and interested enthusiasts to explore the key changes affecting how Africans buy and sell. It is hosted by TechCabal, Big Cabal Media’s flagship technology publication