Views: Nigerian Banks, F1 and IPL !!

Its been a week of Nigeria, F1 and IPL2 for me. I am almost ready to leave back to Bangalore and it was a week of witnessing the new emerging players, tremendous competition and good performance exhibition under unfavorable circumstances.

Firstly the F1 race at Shanghai, it is the first ever win (first and second place) for the Red bull team and Vettel's performance was excellent given the competition and toughest of the wet weather conditions. Red bull has not been the favorites of the teams but now its definitely something to watch out for, way to go!!

IPL season 2 going on at South Africa is nothing short of spectacular, especially since what Lalit modi managed to achieve in a short notice of 3 weeks. Between all the internal politics (interesting blog by the fake IPL player!!), pressures among the teams to stay on the league tables and weather challenges I think IPL has managed to be a great success with a decent media coverage everywhere (even in a not so cricket crazy country like Nigeria it is shown throughout the day live with all the usual highlights and tamashas), way to go !! I am hooked on.

Nigeria, a recent democracy is somewhere in the list developing nations having its bag full of problems like a large population of un employed and wasted youth, stressed infrastructure(power cuts, traffic problems, etc), poor health care (average life expectancy of 47 years), high level of corruption and a devalued currency (The Nigerian Naira virtually has no value and nobody wants this currency outside Nigeria ; even inside Nigerians prefer dollars much more). Among these challenges Nigeria is emerging as a leading country in Africa culturally and economically currently growing at the rate of around 9% annually. I find the people fun loving, cheerful and having a lot of promises for their future (they have lot in common with Indians like food habits, attitude and a legacy of ex British empire).

Coming to the Nigerian banks, due to the central bank regulations banks there are currently going through a major consolidation with most banks either getting merged into or acquired by a larger bank. A senior industry veteran told me that the competition among banks is building up severely and now the banks are slowly starting to see themselves as bigger banks in the market which so far had a myopic vision for their departments and organization. My interactions with these banks gave me an impression that they are not as organized and robust as their American and European counterparts, but they have adopted technology early and have an increasing appetite for something new. While speaking to the Head of technology at one of the leading banks, we discussed about the current problems due to the liquidity crunch like shortage of liquid dollars in Nigeria which prevents these banks from making timely vendor payments, general lack of interest in the market and how the management is pushing back on newer technology spends. Through this, he was very enthusiastic to know what new his bank could do today and put us through to the next steps. Like anywhere else the Nigerian banks now want to outrun each other in capturing market share through customer acquisition and newer products and increasing the profitability with existing customer by attracting more deposits and product usage. I think Nigeria and the other countries in this region would be the new must target markets for the Indian IT companies in the coming years!


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