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Value Add Is The Key To Financial Inclusion, Valentine Obi At Business Day Mobile Money Roundtable

By Ifeanyi Abraham

Forging Inclusive growth in payment systems and financial inclusion initiatives In Nigeria was the theme of this year's edition of the annual Business Day Mobile Money Roundtable held on the 24th of July, 2014 at Radisson Blu hotel, Lagos.

The event which is in its 3rd edition is organized by Business Day Media Ltd, the publishers of Business day newspapers, and has always been an avenue for mobile money operators, regulators, consumers and members of the press to come together and dialogue on way to improve the spread of mobile money in Nigeria.

This year's edition had in attendance Mr Valentine Obi, CEO of eTranzact International PLC, Mr Sim Shagaya, CEO of Konga.com, Mr Niyi Ajao, ED(Technology & Operations), NIBSS, Mr Olaoluwa Awojoodu, CEO, CashEnvoy and Mr Emmanuel Okoegwale, Principal Associate, Mobile Money Africa amongst others.

The panel discussion started up with Mr Valentine Obi, CEO of eTranzact International PLC,( whose company owns PocketMoni, a Central Bank licensed mobile money service which enables users create an e-wallet on their mobile phones for making payments, fund transfer, as well as for receiving money), sharing lessons that eTranzact has learnt so far in its financial inclusion efforts across the country

He said 'Financial inclusion without value add will not work, and every day at eTranzact we are working on unique solutions that continue to add value to the end consumer.

Over the years, we have worked hard to understand and deploy strategies that have truly helped mobile money grow, and though we have been hit with challenges along the way, we continued to invest financial, educational and other resources to ensure we can reach both the banked and unbanked.

For the potential of mobile money to truly explode, it is important that we begin to see it as more than an add-on, but a truly important part of the future of payments in Nigeria

Right now, teams from PocketMoni are on ground in Kano and Ogun state driving mobile money adoption; the project is done in collaboration with EFInA, and we are happy with the results we have seen so far. We believe collaboration can help in building the industry'

Also affirming what Valentine Obi said, Sim Shagaya, CEO of Konga.com talked about how we should be thinking less of value destruction and more of value creation.

He talked about how China is a good example of how finanicial inclusion can truly be achieved in an economy that is largely rural.

He said 'Human beings are economic animals, and they want value and convenience. We need to rethink mobile experience even on the hard ware basis, and the power of mobile money will truly come alive. Today 70% of Nigerians will rather pay on delivery, and even though we do not have a problem with this, most of these people still insist on paying cash, but until we can solve some of these underlying issues, we will not be able to truly unlock the potentials of mobile payments'

Niyi Alao, ED(Technology & Operations), NIBSS, said 'Mobile is a critical technology needed to achieve inclusiveness. Some of the challenges I see are in the way the mobile money solution is communicated to the average man on the street. We at NIBSS are committed to ensuring the success of mobile payments in Nigeria, and we have been working closely with providers like eTranzact and the banks to ensure that we truly achieve the set out goals for mobile money'

Mr Emmanuel Okoegwale, Principal Associate, Mobile Money Africa spoke about the importance of collaboration among the players if the true potential of mobile payments is to be achieved.

Mr Amadi Iheukwumere Manager, Conferences/Enterprise & Promotion, Business Day who served as the moderator of the summit thanked everyone that was able to make it and gave some direction to how the press could help in achieving mobile money goals for the coming year.


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