>Africa into Mobile Money
Africa into Mobile Money
Published on Tuesday, April 26th by Cian O’ Sullivan
Africa is often referred to as the “birthplace of humanity”. In the future, it may also be referred to as the birthplace of mobile banking. The continent has incubated services like MTN’s MobileMoney and M-PESA – which have proven beyond doubt that mobile devices to bring banking to the unbanked in poor/rural areas of developing nations. But an interesting news release today has shown that telecoms operators in Africa may not be as ready to take advantage of this as we might have thought.
What’s mobile money?
Mobile money transfer allows telecoms operators to offer basic banking services through mobile phones. By partnering with a bank, the operator can allow its subscribers to send money through the network using only their mobile number – allowing them to transfer money, pay bills, buy goods and store money in accounts. This is particularly useful in very remote or poor areas, where it’s not financially viable for a bank to build an actual branch. Quite often, these areas have mobile coverage, so a mobile solution to the banking problem can help financial institutions to push their services out to people who would never otherwise had access to them.
What’s the story?
According to Wireless Federation, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is getting ready to bring the hammer down on mobile operators that have been licensed to create mobile money services, but have failed to do so. Last year, CBN issued 16 licenses to various telecoms companies for mobile money networks that the bank would have powered. However, these were temporary licenses. In order to make the license permanent, the operators were given a four-month period within which they had to “prove their capacities” to create a network. It seems that “only a handful” of the operators have done so, and the rest face having their licenses revoked by CBN.
What we think?
Mobile money transfer really is the “next big thing” for mobile operators in Africa. It’s not hugely surprising that a lot of companies would jump on-board before being really ready to do so.
About Cian O’ Sullivan
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