On Wednesday, May 31, 2023, the Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank (RCBank), Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin, served as a guest lecturer at the Limkokwing University Faculty of Business Management and Globalization (FBMG) and the Faculty of Information and Communications Technology (FITCT).
Dr. Gilpin delivered a lecture titled “Rise of Financial Technology [Fintech] and How It Can Be Sustained in the Banking Industry.” He expressed his appreciation to the university management for establishing a modern learning structure.
He revealed that he is an alumnus of Fourah Bay College and that during his time as a student, Limkokwing University did not exist. However, he was impressed by the beautiful, colorful, and modern building during his visit. Before proceeding with his lecture, he recognized the efforts of both the academic staff and the students for their resilience and readiness.
The RCBank MD started by discussing Fintech from a global perspective and then narrowed it down to Africa and Sierra Leone, providing relevant statistics.
He simplified the topic as “using technology to make service delivery easier” and emphasized that technology eliminates the need for face-to-face interaction. He also stated that Financial Technology means “using technology to accelerate finance.”
Dr. Gilpin further explained that in freehold economics, the multiplying effects, velocity, and all the spaces effectively enhance the use and growth of Fintech. He described the impact of velocity as having a significant amount of money circulating within an economy, which also affects interest rates, money supply, and inflation. Therefore, Financial Technology supports the sector.
Dr. Gilpin expalined that, “The growing Fintech industry will create jobs and opportunities across continents, including Sierra Leone. We have the potential to achieve that. It can be sustained if we target the masses for transactions, understand the regulatory terrain, and provide cash, people, an enabling environment. The government has been working to meet these demands. Both the private and public sectors must have good penetration of mobile networks, internet access, and better roads.”
He added that, “The use of Application Program Interface (API) plays a vital role in communication and efficient networking, with the primary aim of providing services to other software interfaces. This can also be seen with the current National Payment Switch Sierra Leone, launched by the Central Bank of Sierra Leone. The use of the payment switch will provide instant access to cash for financial instruments (cheques, debit cards, VISA, Mastercards, etc.) of different institutions and banks.”
Before concluding the lecture, Dr. Gilpin opened the floor for questions and comments. Several questions were asked, and general comments and concerns were satisfactorily addressed.
He acknowledged that Fintech in Sierra Leone is growing but not as fast as in other countries. He mentioned that Sierra Leone has a high rate of unbanked population that can benefit from these goods and services. He affirmed that Fintech can be sustained by the public and the service providers, with a huge potential to generate profits.
He further recommended that although Sierra Leone faces challenges, more can be done by improving infrastructure and regulatory limits, with a focus on achieving effective internet connectivity for a sound market penetration.