Africa’s leading digital payment company, Interswitch has called on the various in the continent to develop better transport infrastructure and systems as well as fortify payment systems to lessen the burden that associated with the sector.
Interswitch in a piece titled: “Sustaining Nigeria’s Transport Sector Using Technology”, the recommended upgrade approach will help to properly connect markets across the continent and achieve the overarching goal of a prosperous continent.
Already, the leading digital payment firm pointed out that some if its brands, has continued to enhance cross border payments, citing Quickteller, a borderless digital payment solution service and Verve card, a payment card issued in 8 African countries with acceptance in over 22 countries on the continent.
It disclosed that the services and products having been aiding payment between African traders and removing transaction barriers.
“To take full advantage of this untapped market, countries would need to develop better transport infrastructure and systems and fortify payment systems to lessen the stress that comes with it, which will help to properly connect markets across the continent and achieve the overarching goal of a prosperous continent” Interswitch stated.
The firm emphasized that enormous opportunities abound in the transport sector, saying to tap into these, there is the need for a concerted effort from stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to ensure that consumers have seamless experiences, while moving goods, services, people and payments across borders.
The need for digitization in the transportation business it asserted became notable during the heat of the pandemic, as innovators devised new ways to conduct their businesses without the need for physical contact between individuals, stating this was especially observed in the logistics sector that saw more companies adopting technological solutions while minimizing physical contact.
“In developed countries, other solutions such as robotics, drones, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) swiftly became a replacement for humans to reduce human contact and by extension, the spread of the virus” the firm noted.
All of these, Interswitch indicated highlights that technology can bring about changes in the operations of businesses within the rail, maritime, aviation, and road modes of transportation.
It noted that technology has continued to prove itself as a force to reckon with, adding that this is evident in the unprecedented changes it has produced across sectors, and the transport sector in Nigeria.
“These perceived and observed changes have led to a steady rise in its utilization, as digitization of processes in various economic quarters has become not just widely accepted but even encouraged” the piece affirmed.
Interswitch stressed that the effect of innovation on the country’s transport sector would increase accessibility to safe payment methods and the attendant ease for commuters.
The company recalled that in the third-quarter of last business year, economic performance report released by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), posited that the growth in the non-oil sector cannot be overlooked, with the transportation sector also making significant leaps in the quarter, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors in Nigeria in Q3 2021.
“The modes of transportation that made these impressive contributions to the economy were rail transport and pipeline (59.93 percent), air transport (33.31 percent), road transport (21.11 percent), and water transport (16.30 percent). For a country with over 200 million people, the need for a robust means of transportation cannot be overemphasized” it affirmed.
Following this, Interswitch said the Federal Government FG’s decision was guide in putting initiatives in place to close the gap in the transportation sector through a multi-modal transport system, noting that the Lagos State Government has embarked on its own ambitious multi-modal transport system in a bid to upgrade the state to smart city status.
It recalled that Lagos State Government has confirmed there is fund to complete the various projects, including the creation of rail lines for intra city trips and other works that will put the proper infrastructure in place for an efficient transport system in the state.
This, it also recounted informed the State’s Transport Fest, which held on December 13, 2021, drawing stakeholders from both the public and private sector to discuss the way forward in improving Nigeria’s transport system.
The event, it said focused on every aspect of transportation including road, rail, logistics, and ports, noting the importance of a cross-sector partnership to develop the transport sector.
The piece noted: “It would almost be remiss if there was no mention of Intra-African trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which is expected to facilitate stronger trading relations between countries on the African continent. With this in view, experts have highlighted the deficits in the transportation sector that could hinder Nigeria – Africa’s current leading economy – from accessing its full potential, relegating it behind other smaller African nations with better systems in place”.
It cited the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, remarks a 2-day conference where he announced at, that the Federal Government had taken seriously the business of transportation, saying: “The transportation sector is the most critical in implementing trade facilitation, enhancing regional integration is key to every other AfCFTA protocol. Hence, the Nigerian government has embarked on huge transport infrastructure investment across the country to ensure efficiency in the transportation sector.”
Despite this, Interswitch noted: “the ever-fluctuating, dollar-reliant exchange rate system on the continent remains a challenge to trade within the continent, saying to address this, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), developed the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) to facilitate cross-border payment between traders in Africa, which would involve participating central banks.