Interswitch, is no doubt the leading Africa-focused integrated digital payments and commerce company, while Nigeria is positioned to be the hub of the best payment systems in the world.
Evidently, there is an increase in digital payments, which have grown from around $324 billion in 2008 to about $2.4 trillion in 2022. With the growing number of fintech companies coming onboard every year, Nigerians are increasingly adopting digital payment methods.
All thanks to pioneer electronic payment platforms like Interswitch, who has shown resilience in the face of daunting challenges facing the ecosystem. Today, Interswitch can be said to be Africa’s leading integrated digital payment and e-commerce company. The company has shown commitment towards deepening and stimulating the growth of digital payment in Nigeria and beyond.
Before establishing Interswitch in 2002, Mitchell Elegbe worked with TELNET as the Group Head for Business Development after an impactful time as a Wireline Engineer at Schlumberger.
Mitchell Elegbe is alumnus of the IESE/Wharton/CEIBS Global CEO Program, Mitchell is a Bishop Desmond Tutu fellow of the African Leadership Institute.
Building a remarkable career on his background as an Electrical/Electronic Engineering graduate from the University of Benin, Nigeria, he has won several awards, including the CNBC/Forbes All African Business Leader (AABLA) for West Africa, and Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Interswitch has continued to show leadership, creating cutting-edge innovations and infrastructure that other digital platforms, including the traditional banks, are riding on. This year alone, the technology giant has launched several solutions, including five that were launched in April to support the evolving fintech ecosystem.
The company, in supporting its mission to inspire Africa to greatness, has continued to push the boundary of innovation to deliver payment solutions that enable commerce to thrive across Africa. In keeping with this goal, Interswitch has naturally taken the role of an enabler in the African Fintech ecosystem, a duty it has accepted with a deep sense of responsibility, fully realizing that several of our platforms form the framework on which many players in the ecosystem have built their offerings.
As a matter of fact, in the last two decades, despite the rapidly growing digital payment ecosystem, which Nigeria has witnessed, none has matched up to Interswitch’s light-speed services. No wonder its Founder and Group Managing Director, Mitchell Elegbe, was named the 2023 West African Entrepreneur of the Year (Masters Category), by professional services firm, Ernst and Young (EY). The keenly contested award was jointly presented to him by the Regional Managing Partner, EY West Africa, Anthony Oputa and Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, at a prestigious gala which took place in Lagos on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
After Elegbe established Interswitch in 2002, there has been the birth of a wide array of innovations, introducing several payment platforms that have truly given the power of a king to the consumers, spurring growth and economic prosperity for all citizens. This is why it is called father to many. Elegbe is a celebrated entrepreneur who has combined ingenuity, hard work and perseverance to create and sustain his successful growing business.
Today, with such innovations, banks, fintechs, micro-finance banks, telcos and other financial institutions are deploying financial products which speak to the needs of customers, who, from the comfort of their homes and offices, are making financial transactions without the hassles of queuing in a bank or using physical cash.
Some proprietary products of Interswitch include but are not limited to: Webpay which has now evolved into Interswitch Payment Gateway, it is free and easy to integrate; Quickteller, Verve, API services that other fintechs leverage, software development for customers such as banks, etc. Also, there is e’Clat, a relatively new arm of Interswitch.
Interswitch e’Clat is a Healthtech company. They provide smart solutions for effective healthcare with expression at different touchpoints on the value chain, such as efficient record keeping, and so on.
Navigating infrastructural challenges in Nigeria, the company, which started operations in 2002, has come so far by adapting and providing their solutions to local problems. Standby generators are available at their data centres and offices. This is one of the ways they have managed the infrastructural challenges prevalent in Nigeria.
“We recognise the challenges; however, we also believe that the capacity to solve them are with us”, the Company’s MD once said.
Still on inspiring the young ones, Interswitch plans to launch an internship program and sponsors another science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education initiative through its InterswitchSPAK Switch-a-Future initiative, which already organises STEM competitions in Nigeria and Kenya. The aim is to empower the younger generations with necessary skills to tackle the prevalent issues in Africa.
Also, in its latest figures, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) disclosed that electronic transactions performed in Nigeria between January and July this year, through the NIBSS instant payment platform (NIP), are worth N204.5 trillion.
NIBSS noted that Nigeria was among the African countries that recorded the highest digital payments in the same period as 35 percent of e-commerce payments occurred by card, while 21 percent was done through bank transfer
On digital security issues and growing concerns from customers using digital payment platforms, Interswitch has put in some measures, such as the two-factor authentication, to curb fraud.
Interswitch is a consumer-focused company, as its Quickteller is tailored to the consumer’s lifestyle, with new features on the platform.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper