Archives for category: Mobile commerce

the-shemar-moore-online-store-is-now-going-mobile1-500x406

Nigeria’s current retail consumption is listed at $388 billion per year and could rise to $1.4 trillion per year by 2030 according to a report by Mckinsey’s Global Institute. To achieve that estimate and sustain it Nigeria’s retail industry is going through drastic change. Retail growth is being fuelled by the increase in the size of the Nigerian population, more than 80 million of Nigeria’s 170 million citizens live in or close to urban areas, increasing disposable incomes among certain segments of the population, and the drive by the government to modernize retailing. International retailers have also helped growth through their investments and the expansion of international retail stores throughout the country. A report prepared by international management consultancy AT Kearney in 2014 labeled Nigeria, along with Gabon, as offering the best retail investment opportunities in Africa.Shoprite

The Nigerian government has played a significant role in the growth of modern retail. Like most African countries, Nigeria has a huge informal economy, with large open markets where items are sold, including food and clothes, electronics, and phones to name a few. There are also many small neighborhood stores, ranging from large to small operators, as well as kiosks, roadside food sellers and street hawkers. Because of high unemployment and other factors the informal economy has traditionally played a large role in Nigeria. Nigeria‘s informal retailing channel is believed to be worth billions of naira, much of which is untaxed and unaccounted for in the nation‘s GDP. The government has made a commitment to place its focus on the formal economy and modern retailing and has implemented new policies discouraging open air street retailing.Crowded Oshodi Market in Nigeria

The new phenomenon for retail in Nigeria is large shopping or “mega” malls. The first mega mall in Nigeria was launched in 2005, when South African grocery chain Shoprite and other retailers began trading from the Palms Mall in Lagos. The mega mall concept has been hugely popular in Nigeria as it has become the place to be seen for aspiring Nigerians. These malls have also further increased the trend towards modern retailing.

Although there are now eight shopping malls spread throughout Nigeria, with others still to come, retailers have found the high rent at these locations to be a major detriment. These malls have shown a steady turnover in merchants. Also many of the Nigerians who love to come to the mall and be seen, cannot afford the products that are being sold at the high end international merchant retail stores that occupy the malls. Mall in Nigeria

Another retail channel that is experiencing high growth is internet retailing, or ecommerce. Mobile phones are ubiquitous throughout Nigeria and more Nigerians are shopping via their mobile devices. Nigeria is the largest mobile market in Africa and the 10th largest in the world. 71 million Nigerians access Internet via their mobile phones according to statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigeria was number eight among the top 10 internet user countries in the world. Nigeria’s internet subscriber base rose from 48.2 million in June 2013 to 67.4 million in June 2014. This represents a density of 40 percent, placing the country above the African average of around 16 percent, as estimated by McKinsey & Company.

Ecommerce companies that operate in Nigeria, such as Jumia and Konga, have shown tremendous growth over the last few years. Jumia recently secured $150 million of fresh investment from its shareholders and both companies are currently selling over 100,000 items on their sites. Nigeria’s ecommerce industry is now worth over $1 billion and Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, has said that Nigeria’s e-commerce market has a potential worth of $10 billion. Even with the ecommerce industry being young and facing logistical issues, this is another potential channel for a retailer to actively engage the Nigerian consumer and see real growth and revenue.

Not all international retailers entering the Nigerian market have been successful. In November 2013, international retailer Woolworths announced it was pulling all of it’s supermarkets and department stores out of Nigeria. Woolworth’s found the environment to be challenging and  failed to lure Nigerian consumers.  Woolworth’s initially entered the market in 2012 but high rental costs, duties, and a complex supply chain process made it difficult to succeed. In order for international retailers to be successful one needs to understand the regulatory environment, the challenges of doing business in Africa, the tastes and habits of the Nigerian consumer, and whether or not your business is a good fit for the market.

Understanding Nigeria is key. The Nigerian consumer market is largely defined by the super-rich and the super-poor. Nigeria is among the most unequal countries in the world in terms of income distribution. Although income inequality limits the overall consumer market by concentrating purchasing power with the rich, there is a booming luxury market in Nigeria. Wealthier Nigerians are attracted to well-known brands which are perceived as being of high status. Luxury car Nigeria

There is also a growing middle class, albeit nascent, with rising spending power. By 2030 Nigeria will be home to almost 12 million middle-class households. Going by the National Bureau of Statistics’ average of 5.7 people per household, this would account for over 68 million people. The Mckinsey Global Institute is forecasting 35 million households to be earning more than $7500 a year by 2030, greatly expanding the middle-income bracket. This provides great promise for merchants looking to enter the market and appeal to a broader segment.

There are tremendous opportunities for modern and westernized products due to Nigeria’s relatively young population and their love of western brands. This young and trendy segment of the population has an intrinsic demand for products that appeal to them in a more modern retail setting or outlet. Sales via informal channels such as open markets will decline, while sales via formal retailing channels will increase with the changing population needs and rising demand for convenience.

The key offering of both kinds of new retailing concepts is convenience: modern retail store channels offer hassle and haggle free shopping in a comfortable environment, while internet retailers also offer stress free shopping. Convenience will be a key benefit as shoppers do not have to brave the heavy traffic of major cities in Nigeria. They can now visit modern retail facilities at malls or buy something online and have it delivered to them at their home. The future of retail in Nigeria is in the here and now and will continue to see an upward trend.

Anthony Bio for Blogs

Ecommerce in Nigeria
Nigeria is the largest country by population in Sub-Saharan Africa and it also has the biggest economy. By 2030, one in every six Africans will be Nigerians, and Nigeria will have one of the 25 largest economies in the world. One area to look for continued growth and real opportunity is E-Commerce or M-Commerce (Mobile Commerce). In 2014 Nigeria recorded over $2 million worth of online transactions per week and close to $1.3 billion monthly. Nigeria’s e-commerce market is developing rapidly, with an estimated growth rate of 25 percent annually.

According to an online researcher, emarketer, while e-commerce across the rest of the world is growing at 16.8 per cent, Africa’s e-commerce space is growing at a rate of 25.8 per cent – making it the fastest growing in the world. Nigerians are notorious for their love of shopping. The Euromonitor Nigeria in a 2011 report revealed that Nigerians spend $6.3 billion per year on clothing. In a recent survey conducted by Philip Consulting 38 percent of Nigerians prefer to buy products through the internet. Middle class consumers are the biggest purchasers online. Nigeria’s middle class now accounts for 28 percent of the population, and the middle class are well educated, with 92 percent having completed a post-secondary school education. This middle class is brand conscious and tech savvy and their technology of choice is a mobile device.

Mobile phone shopping
A Terragon Group study in 2014 shows 63 per cent of Nigerian internet users had bought at least one item online. 60 percent of these buyers claimed to have used their mobile phones for these purchases. 86 percent of the respondents to the Terragon Group study claim to carry out research about an item before making a purchase, and 80 per cent pointed at mobile as their major platform for research. Mobile is the first and major point of access for all internet activities. Nigeria is the largest mobile market in Africa and the 10th largest in the world. 71 million Nigerians access Internet via mobile phones according to statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigeria was number eight among the top 10 internet user countries in the world.

connectivityOne of the keys to growth in e-commerce is connectivity. Internet access in the past has been spotty at best, but is getting better. Nigeria’s internet subscriber base rose from 48.2 million in June 2013 to 67.4 million in June 2014. This represents a density of 40 percent, placing the country above the African average of around 16 percent, as estimated by McKinsey & Company. Nigeria’s internet access market is set to witness a huge boost, as the federal government has set the target of a five-fold increase in broadband penetration by 2018. This is continued good news for e-commerce in Nigeria and Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, has said that Nigeria’s e-commerce market has a potential worth of $10 billion with about 300,000 online orders currently being made on daily basis.

Even with all the potential and the good that is currently happening there are still core issues. The lack of basic infrastructure, the failed postage system, power supply, expensive broadband internet and poor road networks are greatly inhibiting the rapid growth of e-commerce business in Nigeria. Nigeria’s notoriety for online fraud has further hindered growth. In 2005, PayPal closed all Nigerian accounts and denied registration to any user traced to a Nigerian IP address. PayPal has since changed that policy and entered the Nigerian market this past summer. Outdated myths can be hard to shake and unfortunately some still see Nigeria as a haven to scam artists and fraud. Another area of concern is cybercrime. The lack of legislation that specifically targets cybercrime or cyber security has no doubt continually hampered accelerated growth in the e-commerce sector. Legal intervention will need to be raised to deal with future nefarious activities online.

Nigerians shopping
There are tremendous opportunities for e-commerce growth. In Nigeria shopping is a task that takes an incredible amount of time and effort. Many wealthy Nigerians still travel abroad to shop. Some of the reasons for going abroad are limitations on what one can buy online and the challenges associated with online shopping systems. Increased internet access, more affordable data costs, mobile connectivity, the convenience offered by online shopping, and a better product offering should attract more Nigerian consumers to make use of e-commerce sites. Two of Nigeria’s largest e-commerce sites, Jumia and Konga, have seen continued growth and as more players enter the market not only will the consumer benefit, but the Nigerian economy should benefit as well.

Anthony Bio for Blogs

Globe pic

African SMEs and Entrepreneurs – the time is now!

Africa is quickly emerging as a top contender for business expansion in large company ventures. In many ways, Africa has been referred to as the “next Asia” with strong investment growth. After all, the continent is home to 7 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world. The future has been looking much brighter for Africa, especially in the last decade where we have seen Africa’s GDP more than double.

According to EY’s recent attractiveness survey for 2014, Sub-Sahara Africa places in second place.  Three years ago in 2011 SSA was listed 3rd from last on the same list. This year, North America is the only region that ranks ahead of Africa in terms of investment attractiveness.

Growth within these nations not only provides incentive for foreign direct investment (FDI) from all over the world, but also more importantly provides immense opportunities for African entrepreneurs across the continent. EY also cites Intra-African investment and development as a major source of growth for the continent.

Inherently Africa has a high level of risk associated with business investment with many nations battle political instability, corruption, and problems associated with the lack of proper infrastructure. All of these factors contribute to the risk in conducting business in Africa which is eminently complex. In the past, such issues have resulted in the hesitation by global companies from exploring expansion into African nations. However in present day, it appears investors have been able to see beyond negative headlines of nations such as Nigeria, Kenya, and Sudan due to the market potential outweighing many of the risks.

Africa micro business While many large size multinational enterprises (MNEs) such as Nissan, H&M, and Burger King are making headlines for their decisions to expand into Africa for business ventures, the success behind these rapidly growing countries is largely due to SMEs, small and medium sized enterprises. Several MNEs have recently been attracted to the region due to significant improvements in regulatory, legal, and business systems. However, according to IFC and World Bank reports, over 90% of all businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa are SMEs. Aside from this, there is also the informal market of micro businesses that are largely unaccounted for.

With the exciting growth of the mobile phone industry, it presents a major opportunity for Sub Saharan companies to prosper. MMIT, Mobile Media Info Tech, a Nigerian software provider of mobile payments is an example of how Nigerian entrepreneurs and SMEs can benefit from the recent growth trends. With the significant increase in cell phone users, mobile opportunities are abundant. MMIT quickly entered the market by creating M-Wallet and M-Diaspora products.  These products allowed Nigerians to use their mobile phones to pay for products, acting as a mobile wallet, and our M-Diaspora product which allowed ex-pat Nigerians in the United States and United Kingdom to send money to friends and relatives in Nigeria. MMIT saw the opportunity and benefit of mobile payments, a technology that has revolutionized the African consumers’ lack of banking access and dependency on carrying cash.

With the overwhelming majority of the business landscape being SMEs, they are instrumental to the growth of the economy within the Sub-Saharan region. African SMEs growth and development helps create the desperately needed jobs within the formal economy which can ultimately boost economic growth and stability. Although things are looking up, reports of high unemployment rates in SSA, particularly among the youth, continues to plague the continent. The need for the creation of jobs and infrastructure is still in dire need to foster the current economic growth and to sustain it.  Therefore, it is imperative that they do not ignore these rising opportunities created by the economic growth of the past years.

Business in Africa is challenging and varies significantly from country to country which further adds to the degree of difficulty for foreign entrants. African companies have many advantages that they can capitalize especially in terms of market knowledge, understanding of consumer behavior, and realizing what innovations can revolutionize the African way of life. African companies partnering with foreign companies is another smart option for both sides of the spectrum as local African business are able to fill many of the gaps that large MNEs cannot always fill. With new economic developments and increasing incomes, consumers are demanding access to more goods more than ever before. African entrepreneurs and SMEs should seize the opportunities before the MNE’s flood gates open.

To follow MMIT please visit www.mmitonline.com and to subscribe to our monthly newsletter please contact us at newsletter@mmitonline.com


Rebecca's blog signature

378670_456457581061135_1362891592_n

New mobile payment product M-Iflo launched to minimize risks as it is of great concern in the African markets.

Post1

MMIT in partnership with Bango, a leader in mobile payments, has officially launched a product called M-Iflo to revolutionize the security of mobile payment environment in Sub-Sahara Africa. The M-Iflo product provides a safe payment solution that enables online transactions for digital content, which will unlock many opportunities in the world of mobile payments for Africa.

Africa is rapidly becoming a mobile hot spot with many consumers’ displaying their natural ability to quickly adapt to new technologies introduced to the market. The product is tailored to the African market by directly addressing the concerns surrounding the safety of payments and reducing the risks of transactions, which remains a barrier to doing business for new entrants into African markets. As a result of merchants’ fears regarding the technological and political risks factors, Africa has in many ways been limited or excluded from many of the break through technologies within the areas of mobile commerce and mobile billing. Jide Akindele, CEO of MMIT commented on these issues explaining, “unfortunately corruption remains a substantial risk within the mobile money industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. This has resulted in a reluctance from the world’s app stores and mobile brands to engage the African market.”

M-Iflo essentially is an intermediary between mobile merchants and mobile wallet providers. The product acts as a payment verification portal that provides a secure way for mobile content providers to reach African markets. This enables consumers of mobile wallets to select their wallet provider as a form of payment at the check out page of the transacting website. M-Iflo additionally allows those without mobile wallets to buy content from major app stores by using a top up card that can be purchased at retail outlets. Upon purchase of the top up card, codes are provided for the customer to enter upon checkout of a merchant site to complete the transaction online.

M-Iflo minimizes associated risks with online transactions and allows merchants to be paid up front, thus creating a work around to the common complexities of conducting business in Africa. This addresses app stores and merchant concerns of payments being held up in one country based on bureaucracy, fraud, or changes in regulation. Bango CEO Ray Anderson said: “There’s a smartphone boom in Africa and a frustrated demand for digital content. App stores and other merchants have been waiting for the reassurance of M-Iflo, which limits the risk of doing business in Africa, and has been designed to suit the ‘cash up front’ instincts of the African market.”

Post1 2

M-Iflo has already integrated with major mobile wallet providers in Africa, including Mobipay in Kenya, Stanbic IBTC Mobile Money in Nigeria, and is working to add more to the list of partners. Jide Akindele, CEO of MMIT stated, “Merchants in the western market are yearning for a suitable payment process platform that minimizes their risk in the African market. We believe that our M-Iflo platform gives our clients that capability to do so. We look forward to opening up access to content store owners that are looking at the African market via Bango and MMIT’s Mobile money payment processing platform.”

MMIT is looking forward to this summer as the product officially launches in Nigeria with Stanbic within the coming weeks followed by Kenya’s launch later this summer.


Rebecca's blog signature

Stanbic logolunapic_134702630233264_24

Stanbic IBTC MobileMoney partners with MMIT; provides payment options for international online shopping

25 October 2013 Lagos, Nigeria – Stanbic IBTC Bank and Mobile Money Info Tech Limited, MMIT, have partnered to bring international online shopping payment options to Nigerian consumers.  Stanbic’s MobileMoney platform will be the first mobile money operator in Nigeria that offers the service of allowing consumers who do not have a credit card to pay for goods through their mobile money wallets when shopping on international app sites.

Customers who operate Stanbic IBTC Bank’s *909# MobileMoney wallets will be able to shop on international app sites such as Amazon, the Android store, Playstation, and other gaming sites. They will be given the option of making card less payments through their mobile money wallets; with this option any customer with a smart phone will be able to make purchases on these online sites regardless of where they reside in Nigeria.

Thabo Makoko, Head of E-Business at Stanbic IBTC Bank, described the partnership as another step towards financial inclusion for individuals who are usually not able to shop online because of the lack of credit and credit cards. “Mobile payments have taken a new turn in Nigeria and the days of being inconvenienced or excluded from participating in the digital economy as a result of ones inability to produce credit or debit card details for online payments are over.

“We want to provide more opportunities for the under banked in every part of Nigeria – especially the small business owners; we want to be known as the financial service partner that opens doors for our customers; empowering them to grow their businesses and lives. Removing the barriers to participating in the digital economy, the online shopping process for small business owners, youths, and the under banked will greatly reduce barriers to success in acquiring tools to improve lives”.

Jide Akindele, chief executive officer of MMIT, also commented on the partnership. “We are excited about our partnership with Stanbic IBTC Bank. We see this as a great opportunity for Stanbic IBTC mobile money subscribers who will be able to make more financial decisions.

“This partnership will make Stanbic IBTC mobile money account holders the first in Nigeria to enjoy the option of making payments on foreign online stores.”

Stanbic IBTC Bank intends to reduce the gap in access to financial services between the fully banked and under banked through the use of mobile money in every part of Nigeria. With our MobileMoney wallet the bank is getting closer to achieving this objective.

About Stanbic IBTC

Stanbic IBTC Bank is a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars – Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management. Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC Holdings belongs, is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 18 key sub-Saharan countries and other emerging markets; Standard Bank has been in operation for 150 years and is focused on building first-class on-the-ground banks in chosen countries in Africa and connecting other selected emerging markets to Africa and to each other.

For more information visit http://www.stanbicibtcbank.com

 About MMIT

Mobile Media Info Tech Limited (MMIT) is a mobile software development company with a mission to revolutionize money transfer capabilities, mobile banking, and mobile payment processes. MMIT creates and distributes proprietary mobile technology platforms to augment ways in which mobile and web users can make financial transactions for personal and emergency purposes.

 For more information visit: www.mmitonline.com

Is your business is targeting the youth of Sub-Sahara Africa?  If not, then your business is missing out on the largest and fastest growing youth consumer market in the World.  According to a Mckinsey & Company study over 50% of Africans are under the age of 20 and over the next decade this group will grow faster than any other youth group in the World.

In 2013 Africans aged 16-34 accounted for 65% of the consumer spending in Sub-Sahara Africa, or SSA.  A quick profile of this youth consumer shows that they are online and tech savvy, image-conscious, prefer quality first, price second, are brand conscious, mobile, and they are digital.  And their digital technology of choice is the mobile phone.Image

Mobile Technology is the de facto technology of choice for the youth of Africa.  For this article I define the youth of Sub-Sahara Africa, SSA, as anyone between the ages of 14-34.  For this group the mobile phone is a passport to a flexible new world that is much desired.

Their mobile phone defines their status and distinguishes their place in society.  The more expensive your mobile device the richer you are, the cheaper your device, the poorer you are. Most young people initially buy low cost, low brand devices, such as Techno, or Huawei, but once they save up enough money they go for a more expensive, nicer looking phone.  Youth consumers in SSA are very brand and image conscious and their mobile device is proof of that.

Another key trend is mobile devices no longer just being phones.  Mobile devices have now become tablets, phablets, and phonblets.  SSA youth are using their mobile devices to view, store, and create mobile content. Even though more youth are using mobile devices daily, only 20% of a phone’s functionality is actually being used according to mobile tech industry analysts.  Of that 20% however, more than 70% of that usage is for communication (email, SMS, social networking, downloading games, music and video apps, etc.).

Internet access is also getting better and sites like Youtube and Facebook receive millions of visits and subscribers.  Texting is still prevalent and phones are used more often for texting than voice calls. However texting can now be broadly viewed as messaging. There is SMS and then there are data based free messaging services like Whatsapp, Ebuddy, and BBM that now actively compliment SMS.

Image

Mobile also provides privacy and control for SSA youth.  Having a phone allows them to keep information from the prying eyes of their parents and family.  According to an InMobi Report in 2012, 47% of Nigerian youth say they love their mobile device because it allows them to keep their information private.

SSA youth also keep their mobile devices on them at all times an according to an InMobi report.  Mobile provides SSA youth with “Found Time”.  Found Time is described as using your mobile device at any time, whether in the bathroom, on the bus, or on your bed to check-in to social networking sites such as Facebook, IRokoTV, etc.social media in Africa

For the business side mobile commerce exists but has not really become part of everyday culture.  Countries where mobile money is strong, such as Kenya and Tanzania, see more activity in regards to mobile commerce, but continent wide this phenomenon has not completely gained steam at this time.  I spoke with Dayo Adefila, CMO of MMIT in Nigeria, on why this current situation exists.  “My guess for why mobile commerce is so low in a majority of countries is the lack of a clear value Proposition.  Merchants are not advertising mobile money acceptance so end-users don’t want any issues with their money.  They basically avoid M-commerce sites.”

Understanding this demographic is vital to understanding the future of SSA.  The technology may change but the consumer habits of tomorrow are being formed today.  The traditional consumer patterns of the West and how companies approach these consumers does not apply to SSA.  The approach taken to reach and speak directly to these consumers is unique and local to SSA and it starts with mobile technology.

Anthony Bio for Blogs

 

MMIT COO – Kim Fraser will be a guest speaker at The Social Mobile Payments Conference taking place from November 6-8th at the Marriot Biscayne Bay in beautiful Miami, Florida.  Kim will share his expertise and knowledge and talk about the mobile payment revolution taking place in Africa.  Other speakers at this event include representatives from Amdocs, Digital River, MoPay, PayTap, Visa, Mobile Payments Today, to name a few.  For more information on this event please visit http://www.socialmobilepayments.com and for more information about Kim and MMIT please visit http://www.mmitonline.com.

MMIT COO – Kim Fraser

Today in Africa more people have access to mobile phones than to electricity. In Nigeria it was recently announced that the number of active subscribers had reached approximately 105 million.  In Sub Saharan Africa the mobile phone revolution has been under way for 11 years and has had a significant impact in the region significantly improving the population’s ability to communicate remotely for business and maintaining relationships with family and friends.

A significant offshoot of the rapid growth of mobile communications in Sub Saharan Africa is the direct secondary economic activity it has created.  The mobile infrastructure from selling airtime to roadside business centres for making phone calls has created an economic buzz to underdeveloped regions. Another informal activity which developed and demonstrates the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people in Sub Saharan Africa is the use of prepaid airtime cards to informally send small amounts of money to family, friends and others.  Prepaid Airtime recharge cards are available everywhere, from vendors selling in the traffic during rush hour, to road side kiosks and retail shops.  Senders purchase airtime cards worth the value they wish to send to the beneficiary via an SMS allocated with PIN numbers.  The receiver then sells the airtime and collects cash in a simple and effective manner.  It doesn’t require any additional technology layers to function as long as agents are in place.

This informal money transfer arrangement has been going on long before Mpesa was launched and the banks decided it was a good idea to get involved in mobile money. This informal system works every where there is mobile coverage, is simple and carries little risk.  Innovation is a necessity in Africa and one does not have to look far to find numerous examples of how people innovate and improvise to overcome the many challenges found in this environment. So it is no surprise that Africa is a leader in innovation when it comes to mobile money and transactions via mobile networks and in the online space.

The highest users of mobile money are in Africa.  To many in North America or Europe this may come as a surprise, but for someone who has witnessed the astounding growth in mobile communications in Sub Saharan Africa and the transformation it has fostered, it is not so surprising. Mobile Money is projected to be a $615 billion a year industry by 2016 according to the Gartner Group. Today 80% of mobile money transactions worldwide take place in Kenya, with MPesa reportedly handling $20 million of transactions per day.

Africa has been the continent with the fastest growth in mobile subscriptions over the past 5 years. Today there are almost 700 million active lines on the continent. Mpesa is a resounding success in Kenya.  In Nigeria more people now access the internet from the small screen (mobile phones) than pcs, laptops and tablets. Africa has adopted mobile communications completely and is the mobile continent from a telecommunications perspective.   Africa is poised to change the way we think of financial services and blaze a trail in financial access innovation.  East Africa currently leads the way with products such as Jipange KuSave, M-Kopa, Kilimo Salama, Ipay, Lipisha, PesaPal, CrowdPesa products built on the M-PESA infrastructure and other Mobile money aggregators such as Mobipay, E-Fulusi, and YuCash.

Mobile money is a business/service, which suits Africa and its people. It is low cost from an investment and operational perspective, leverages ubiquitous infrastructure already widespread and highly accepted, taps into a growing pool of young tech-savy entrepreneurs high on innovation and eager to improve conditions in their home environments and demonstrate their capability to the world.  In the mobile money revolution Africa is leading the world!

Kim Fraser will be a guest speaker at The Social Mobile Payments: Americas! Conference being held November 6-8th at the Miami Marriot Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida.  Kim will be representing MMIT and will be discussing the mobile payments revolution that is taking place in Africa.  For more info please visit http://www.mmitonline.com or http://www.socialmobilepayments.com.

Companies MMIT and Bango recently went into a partnership to change the face of online and mobile payment in Nigeria and Africa by introducing M-Content. M-Content will enable online and mobile payments for goods and services offered on international social commerce websites. ABN and CNBC Africa’s Keisha Gitari met with MMIT COO Kim Fraser to find out more.

To watch the entire interview please view at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imaN7QIdG0c

Image

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.

Image

Kim Fraser – COO MMIT