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Fintech in Nigeria – and Africa in General – Seen as the Final Frontier of Untapped Opportunity

We have not even reached the halfway point of 2021, but already it seems nailed on that the year will break all sorts of funding records – with the surge in investments led by the Nigerian fintech space. The landmark acquisition of Paystack by Stripe back in October seems to have set an unstoppable train in motion, with March bringing huge developments in the space. First Flutterwave became a “unicorn” as its US$170 million funding round took its value beyond the US$1 billion mark. And then digital bank Kuda raised a US$25 million Series A barely four months after raising its seed round. The acquisition of Paystack and the large Flutterwave and Kuda rounds may have grabbed the attention, but there is also plenty of activity at smaller ticket sizes, speaking to the broader health of the Nigerian fintech ecosystem. There are various reasons for the appeal, and they vary for different types of investors. Ruby Nimkar, principal at Lagos-based fintech-focused VC firm GreenHouse Capital, said there are two distinct attractions for domestic and international investors. “Local African investors know that Nigeria is the largest destination market with a vibrant talent pool of entrepreneurs. There is a strong existing ecosystem that is no stranger to fintech, which makes African investors very willing to consider these opportunities,” she said.