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The next decade would be exciting for Fintech if…Kyari Bukar, MD/CEO INLAKS 

Kyari Bukar. MD, INLAKS
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The Top 20 CEO Seies continues and today we have the Managing Director and CEO of Inlaks Africa Operations, and former chair of the Nigeria Economy Summit Group (NESG), Mr Kyari Bukar who spoke about the information and communication technology ecosystem emphasizing Fintech and the role of government. Except.

Fintech is everywhere. What is the future of Fintech? 

Fintech is making waves. As a person who has been in the financial technology business for a while, there is little tendency that in every case these days that one would have a start-up that would look like Fintech. There seem to be more start-ups that are in that space. Of course, many companies that have grown and become what I would call mature, though they are less than 10 years old, majority of the Fintech are less than 10 years old. Some may be exceeding that 10 years if you consider industry leaders such as Unified Payments. However, the rest are all fairly much younger but they have punched above their weights and they continue to bring in new products and services to the industry. They are embracing the uncertainty that the future brings. I think there would be more opportunities on solving people’s problems. Wherever there is a better way of doing things and you bring more convenience to me there is always an opportunity of making money from it. Fintech is a subsector of the entire technology ecosystem where we have biotech, programming, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, whatever technology, health tech, edu-tech name them.

Kyari Bukar. MD, INLAKS with Tayo Adewusi

A component requires programming, coding, hardware design and user interface design. The bits and pieces are what I call core technology. We have always embedded these. Because at the end of the day, Fintech has the word “tech” and it is going to evolve and more into something else. It is going to be quite exciting in the next few decades in terms of humanity’s evolution of how technology and human interface begin to change how we work, how we play, and in some instances, our health. Therefore, there would be evolution that would come even though we are talking about Fintech. In general, it is going to be more convenient and exciting for people as time goes on. 

 What is the outlook for Fintech in the next decade? 

I tell people that not everything is in Lagos. For those of us living in Lagos, it is like what is next? Whereas if you go to some northern parts of the country things are quite different. The naira change has completely disrupted the national economy. That is because we did not consider the financial inclusion of every citizen. Because not everybody has a smartphone. Therefore, we have discovered that people are in different strata of the evolutionary cycle of technology. Unless you include everybody in the ecosystem, you are going to miss many things. In the next decade, if the regulators act as a catalyst and bring financial inclusion into everything, embrace technology in transactions and conversations with citizens there would be efficiency. Fewer gatekeepers mean more transparency and less corruption. Government can do this by embracing technology. I think the next decade is going to be an exciting evolution for technology in general especially if government embraces it. 

 Let us look at the ICT industry. It has undergone a massive transformation. What changes have you noticed about the industry in the last decade?

Well ICT is more or less an enabler for development, and by extension, it is what humanity needs. Whether the next mousetrap, digital software, or hardware changes our way of thinking and how we do things. It is always something that comes with skepticism. Initially because, sometimes, it makes us change the way we do things. In general, technology is all about improving our lives. It is about how convenience brings efficiency to how we do things. For instance, Inlaks has been around for 40 years. It started as part of the larger conglomerate. This subsidiary was primarily into computing. Of course, when it started it was in the era of the mainframe so we were selling accessories and things that needed papers and other accessories. It graduated into what it is today. Today Inlaks is in several African countries including Nigeria and Ghana. We have an office in Ghana covering the rest of West Africa, East Africa and not only do we do banking and core banking application. We are the foremost partner of Terminus – the core banking application, which is T24. With T24, we have a different variance from central to commercial banking to what I would call IDF for microfinance banks. We have a robust and probably the largest and most used core banking in the banking arena particularly in the Middle East and Pakistan etc. We have a repertoire of products and services for our banking clients. So essentially, during these 40 years, Inlaks have made its mark in the ICT arena not only in Nigeria but also across the continent. 

Kyari Bukar. MD, INLAKS

 Could you enumerate the impact of Inlaks in Africa and beyond? 

Our focus is Nigeria, West Africa, and East Africa. We do not have a strong presence in French-speaking African countries or Portuguese-speaking countries. We are looking at those locations. In the case of the French-speaking West African countries, we are going there by following some of our customers that have moved into those markets. We are not in South Africa itself but we have some interactions and opportunities in Southern Africa. 

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