Will The Real Nigerian Mobile Money Companies Please Stand Up?


I am just waking up after a very short sleep and I have a few minutes before preparing to attend  The Future Awards Symposium. So this has to be brief and i hope it is as articulate I want it to be.

Here is the issue, I do not get Mobile Money as it is being attempted in Nigeria. The companies I have heard of seem to be more interested in in painting BRT buses and large billboards rather than being Mobile Money companies.

However, this post is not about my disappointment with the “Mobile Money” companies but rather an opportunity for them. Any real/serious Mobile Money company in Nigeria will salivate at this

Crowd funding and A grand opportunity.

Crowd funding is is one of the few killer applications that makes a business case for Mobile Money and there is a grand opportunity waiting to be taken.

There is a young man called Oke who needs some money to save his legs and his life. (If you get mind, here is the link to his story) The fact of the matter is the money he needs (N5million) can be raised in a single day if there was an easy way to send money to him. At the moment, Twitter is virtually saying “shut up and take my money”. But the true problem for the young man is HOW? The sad truth of the matter is this, 95% of the people absolutely willing to give 1000 or more will not because going to deposit money in a bank account is a really long thing. That is the absolute reality.

If only there was a way we could send money without the hassle of going to a bank, queuing, etc etc… Wait!! that is what the entire premise of Mobile Money is all about. This is the perfect opportunity to prove and show how this thing works! It is one thing to go back slapping yourselves at Mobile Money conferences around the world and claiming to be the next M-Pesa and another to actually do stuff.

What Serious Mobile Money companies should do NOW!

It is a no brainier for a Mobile Money company to provide matching funding for money raised for Oke through their platform. You will be committing bird genocide with a single stone (showing how/that your stuff really work, doing good, awesome PR, acquiring real users, jump starting the industry, having a very relevant case study, etcetc gbogbotigbo).

So MTN, Paga, VCash, PoketMoni, GLO, VTN, Airtel, what are you guys really waiting for. Are you guys real? Can you already grab this opportunity with both hands?

When CCHUB tried to raise money for a roofing project at the police barracks in Yaba, you guys failed, but the implication was a few wet mattresses. However, this time is someones life. Do the right thing for Oke and yourselves.

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14 thoughts on “Will The Real Nigerian Mobile Money Companies Please Stand Up?

  1. Correction, MTN is not a Mobile Money company in Nigeria because they have no licence. Probably the reason why the field is weak

    1. I’m going to call “BS” on this one.  I don’t believe MTN would do much better.  There would be more awareness but that may not necessarily lead to more adoption.  Just saying…

  2. Mypaga just received 2million dollars in aid money from the west. Their CEO is jetting off somewhere to some western country to give a talk. Meanwhile, the copyright on their website still says 2011.

    How can a business work if they are more worried about receiving grants from europeans than actually trying to make money? Mypaga has not innovated since they started. They have realised it’s much easier to collect dash-money from western countries than it is to actually run a business.

    So they will attend mobile conferences, go for U.N meetings, meet african development bodies, etc. Begging is not a business, unless you are an african startup.

    1. Do you know what is involved in nurturing a start-up business that is also relatively alien? Can the importance of adequate funding to properly build,monitor and propagate the Mobile Money service be over-emphasized?

      If an indigenous start-up company can gain the confidence of global and international donors to power its vision and capacity at more competitive cost as against local financiers,shouldn’t such concerns be encouraged to keep up the tempo?

      They may not have gotten it all right or attained ‘eldorado’ but question should be ‘are they on track’?

      Attending international meetings,conferences isn’t necessarily about ‘dinning and wining’ but more about leveraging on such robust forums to inject financial and technical resources which are indispensable if a workable,efficient model will be attained in Nigeria.

    2. “…….Begging is not a business, unless you are an african start up”.this is so racist I can’t say more Niyi. Anyway I believe too that these mobile companies are all noise makers,if they can’t identify their customers(the ordinary man on the street) and prefer to stay on the pages of tvs and newspapers then they will definitely fail.Though I believe in the bandwagon effect.Once it starts trust nigerians not to rest until they have their mobile money.

  3. There’s more to the slow take-off of mobile money services in Nigeria than meets the eye. This idea you describe rocks big time and it’s in deed one way mobile money operators can obtain customers in record numbers virtually overnight. It will happen – we shall see; may be not as quickly as we would like it to be.

  4. Very true oo , These mobile money platforms have to do ground level marketing , they have to use their platform to affect lives , this will in essence make them relevant, 

  5. This is totally unrelated to this post. 
    Why do I have to sign in with my Facebook address on gbedu.fm? I am probably not the only one paranoid about sharing my already uncontrollable access on the internet. Perhaps you want a trial short minute version thing, then ask me to share my Facebook details afterwards? 

  6. I can understand the reservations about mobile money companies licensed by CBN but it has to be said that most of these posts show ignorance and a lack of understanding of whats really going on. The final licences for the first group of mobile money operators only came out in October. Prior to that most have been operating with “Approval in Principles” meaning that they could do no ATL marketing. October to March is not a lot of time to convince businesses to leave long standing practices for electronic payments most still look at with skepticism. I know some of you who posted have businesses, have you even engaged with any of these operators to see who means business? EFInA does not give money without purpose. If Paga was given a grant then it was merited for a particular purpose. Rather than flogging CBN’s attempt to make payments easier for all concerned, we should be constructive and patient and see how it plays out. I assure you it is NOT 419.

    1. Thank you for your insightful response to this write-up.People should do adequate research and not be too quick to criticize.I however buy the vital point on crowd funding.

  7. Your observation is right. But I think the problem is the regulatory authority who forbid them from advertising. As a stakeholder, I know most licensed operators are doing what they are supposed to do in these period of when they are yet to get final approval from CBN. Recruiting and educating agents into their network.

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