- Sector: Technology & Telecoms
- Country of operations: Nigeria
Nigeria’s SecureID is Africa’s leading manufacturer of smart cards and other identity documents, working with clients in the financial, telecoms and government sectors. The company’s smart card manufacturing plant in Lagos is certified by both Mastercard and Visa and is able to produce a wide range of products including debit and credit cards, mobile phone SIM cards, loyalty cards, driving licences, national identity cards, passports and more.
Kofo Akinkugbe, CEO, points out that its facility in the country’s commercial capital is “the first EMV [chip and PIN]-certified smartcard manufacturing plant in Sub-Saharan Africa”. That puts it in a strong position in the region, and these days the company’s products are distributed across more than 21 countries around Africa.
With payment technology always evolving, the company is having to constantly adapt to the changing needs of its customers. Two of the key trends at the moment are the move towards contactless payment cards and the rise in digital transactions, both of which necessitate greater investment in IT systems and infrastructure.
“In the smart card industry there is a migration from contact-based smart cards to contactless ones to allow for faster transactions and verification,” says Kofo. “The major challenge to this is the cost to change existing processing devices to ones that accept contactless transactions. However, the benefits far outweigh the challenges as it will lead to increased ease of card transactions.”
Developing a technology business in Nigeria is not always straightforward. Among the major challenges faced by companies are the underdevelopment of critical infrastructure such as power supply and broadband coverage, a skills deficit among those emerging from the local education system, and the limited access and high cost of finance. “High-growth companies have to carry very high costs to run world-class institutions,” says Kofo. “It takes a lot of determination and persistence for businesses to thrive.”