Dafribank is a bank that understands the needs of the digital era in terms of finance and favourable policy on digital currency.
Chairman of DafriBank, Xolane Ndhlovu in this interview with The Sun sheds more lights on the bank’s service, his passion for entrepreneurship and lots more.
How different is Dafribank from other banks on the continent?
We differ from them with respect to our very mission! Our goal is to leverage the digitization of the financial sector to serve the digital entrepreneurs who have been largely ignored by the conventional banks. We also aim at reducing the costs of finance significantly through the use of more efficient technology, which would directly benefit our clients.
Who are the primary target consumers of the bank?
For now, we aim to largely serve Digital Entrepreneurs and merchants – the class that has found the traditional financial platforms insufficient. However, as we move further, we shall be innovating, improvising and introducing solutions that will elevate the experience of everyone connected with African and even overseas Finance.
Kindly explain why Dafribank is a digital-only bank?
The traditional financial systems with concentrated physical infrastructure incur huge non-value added costs, which are ultimately borne by the clients. By going fully digital, we are harnessing the developments in technology globally with the aim to provide much more efficient and satisfactory services.
What is your vision for Dafribank?
To eventually grow into a full flag commercial bank that would spearhead the innovation and development in the financial sector, and to remarkably improve the reach and convenience of the banking sector.
Tell us about yourself and what inspires you?
There are a lot of people who need help in our world and there are those out there doing their very best to give it to them. Every time I see someone working hard to create change or make life better for people I get inspired.
Generally, what is your view on the African economy and its potential for growth?
Africa is projected to recover in 2021 from its worst economic recession in half a century.
Economic activity in Africa was constrained in 2020 by an unprecedented global pandemic caused by COVID–19. The economic impact of the COVID-19 shock in Sub-Saharan Africa is severe. However, countries in the region are continuing to weather the storm. With the world’s largest free trade area and a 1.2 billion-person market, the continent is creating an entirely new development path, harnessing the potential of its resources and people.
What role is DafriGroup playing (or going to play) in that growth?
We are combining policy expertise, capital and data to advance pillars of opportunity for African emerging entrepreneurs. We are investing in people and places to tackle barriers to opportunity and create the conditions for lasting change.
Africa seems to stagnate when compared to other continents, yet it is a continent filled with resources. How do you think governments of African countries can unlock the vast potential of Africa in this digital age?
I have always encouraged our leaders and policy makers to embrace technology through strategic planning and dialogue instead of trying to block it. You cannot stop a pregnant woman whose time to give birth is due. The CBN crypto ban circular in February was meant to prevent Nigerians from trading in crypto, however current data shows that Nigeria crypto usage has increased to 110% since the circular was issued. Through the P2P alternative route, Nigerians successfully encompassed the CBN crypto restrictions.
What is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to be successful business owners in Africa?
There’s little point in going into business simply to go into business. You have to have a passion for your product or service and to know it inside out. Entrepreneurs are notoriously focussed and single-minded. You have to be prepared to accept defeat as well as enjoy the wins, and to move on undaunted. Get advice from an established entrepreneur or from someone unconnected with your business.
Kindly explain what has been the best decision you have taken in your life thus far.
Investing in Binance exchange in 2017 at inception. Binance today is the biggest crypto exchange in the world.
How challenging has it been running such a risky business in Nigeria?
The CBN is not our licensee and our services have nothing to do with crypto, hence we are not directly affected by the circular.
How do you find time to relax despite your busy schedule?
We are managing 16+ companies under DafriGroup, there’ Isn’t any time for relaxing yet.
Did the government’s ban of Twitter affect your company in any way? How were you able to adjust?
Yes, I learned about the issue through one of our Nigerian employees who reported to me that she wasn’t able to access our company’s twitter page due to the issue. While we trust the government to make decisions in the public interest, it has affected our reach to the people. We are, however, adjusting well, and plan to substitute Twitter with other social media platforms to continue communicating with the people.
What’s your take on Twitter ban in Nigeria?
I have little knowledge over what transpired.
Nigeria is a big internet consumer market place in Africa what is your plan in Nigeria would you love to set up an office in Nigeria in future of Dafribank Bank ?
There is a plan to become a full flag commercial bank in Nigeria in near future. However, through our subsidiaries in Nigeria we have demonstrated our willingness to contribute to Nigerian economic development and the future of our Nigerian youth. In 2020, we launched a N100 million educational grant initiative which currently has 25 students in various private schools.
Can you list all your businesses under dafribank and the differences, you also operate cryptocurrency exchange, give us more highlights about the crypto currency?
DafriBank and DafriXchange are two different companies owned by DafriGroup PLC, DafriBank is not a crypto company, DafriBank is a Bank with a favourable policy on digital currency. We see digital currency as the future. This explains the reason why our share (DBA) was offered in digital currency. A purchase of DBA is equivalent to owning a stake in DafriBank Digital. On the other hand, DafriXchange operates as a separate crypto exchange entity.