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AB: Could you tell us a little about yourself, your experience in the mobile banking and payment industry, how you ended up in Nigeria, and your relationship with MMIT?

Kim:  I am a telecoms professional who handles technical as well as business management. I am originally from Saskatchewan, Canada and I started my relationship with Nigeria in the year 2000 in the early stages of deregulation of the Nigerian Telecom Sector. By late 2001 I was working full time in Nigeria.  I have held senior roles covering GM network planning to CTO and CEO/ MD for tier 2 Telecom Service providers in Nigeria.

I am relatively new to the mobile banking / online transaction space and have been steadily gaining knowledge from my colleagues currently engaged in this fast paced segment of the banking and telecom industry. I was recruited by MMIT to join the organization as the COO to assist with getting the organization up and running, developing structure, and insuring day to day activities are properly managed as well as to leverage my 10 years of experience within the Nigerian Telecom sector to the benefit of MMIT and its stake holders.

AB: In your opinion what are the main challenges one faces working in an emerging market environment like Nigeria?

Kim: Emerging markets are unique in that there are often major infrastructure challenges from transport to electrical supply to appropriate ICT infrastructure for business in general ,

In addition markets such as Nigeria are still cash based so there is an adoption hurdle to overcome in order to push services such as mobile banking to a large segment of the population. Through having been in Nigeria for over 10 years I have witnessed first hand how rapidly technology is adopted in this market provided the access is there, and the benefits to ones daily life are clearly communicated and understood.

AB: What features allow MMIT to differentiate itself from others in the mobile banking and payment industry in Africa?

Kim: MMIT has developed its product suite around the challenges currently faced by credit card, debit card, and Mobile Wallet users face when trying to engage in electronic transactions whether it is sending and receiving funds, or trying to purchase content or merchandise online via the traditional methods mentioned above.  With MMIT as long as your electronic wallet is appropriately funded, online transactions for content or merchandise will not be rejected.

In respect to funds transfer MMIT has created an ecosystem which provides convenient access to users of this service for sending and receiving of funds. This has been accomplished through strategic partnerships within local and international markets to insure it is as easy as buying a lottery ticket or airtime top-up from local shops.

MMIT also understands the need for its payment solutions to work in the context of the local environment, while at the same time offering a first class experience in respect to the range of merchants and content stores users of its products have access to.  The founders of MMIT have put in considerable effort in this area and are still pushing to enhance the reach of our content and merchant ecosystem.

AB:  How much are the big market players, such as Google and large banks like Barclays and Bank of America, threats to smaller niche providers like MMIT?  Are these bigger market players gaining ground in Nigeria and Africa?

Kim: In Nigeria large players such as Google and Barclays are not entrenched or even on the radar screen.  This is in part due to the make up of the Nigerian Banking sector which has not been dominated by large international banking institutions such as one sees in east Africa and perhaps other Sub-Saharan African countries. As well there does seem to be a tendency for large international players to want to push products they developed for maturity into well developed markets such as Europe and North America rather than into the emerging market space with out looking at the peculiar nature of such markets and whether the product will serve the needs of those it is intended for.  So for now we do not see any major push for the major international players to penetrate Nigeria’s market in any significant manor.

Thank you for your time Kim.  Kim will be appearing on CNBC Africa tomorrow at 5:30 PM West African Time.  Kim can be contacted at kim.f@mmitonline.com.

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Kim Fraser – COO MMIT

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