Archives for category: Mobile Content

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.

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

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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.”

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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.


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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.

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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.

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MMIT’s M-Content platform has been developed with the African Sub-Saharan market in mind. In a continent that is growing rapidly and has over 700 million mobile phone subscribers opportunities are endless.  In Nigeria there are over 16 million users of Facebook, Skype, Blackberry, Apple, and Android. In Kenya there are over 7 million users of these same devices.  On the flip side of those numbers only 24% of working age adults in Sub-Saharan Africa hold a traditional bank account with a formal financial institution and a considerably lower percentage of adults have credit or debit cards. With our M-Content platform we will be providing a way for this underserved segment to access and purchase online content and apps they wish to have on their mobiles and PCs.

Before I go further let me first describe our M-Content platform and some of the services it provides our consumers.  Our M-Content product allows consumers with a mobile money wallet, and also consumers who don’t have a mobile money wallet, to purchase content from sites like the Blackberry store, Google, Amazon, the Android store, and I Tunes to name a few and top up or apply credit on gaming and social media sites such as Facebook, EA Sports, Sony Play-Station, and Skype. It also allows consumers who want to purchase apps or apply credit on various sites to do so via their mobile phone, PC or tablet.  Our platform provides a convenient way to do this without the need to use credit or debit cards and instead utilize cash vouchers and the mobile wallet. This eliminates the risk of exposing one’s credit card or debit card on the internet or having the transaction denied due the card coming from a high risk region for fraud and opens the door to such E and M-commerce sites for larger numbers of consumers in emerging markets who do not have access to credit and debit cards.

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MMIT is aware of the possibilities and is currently at work on our M-Content platform and expects this product to be launched and live by the beginning of 2013.  We will keep you up to date on the product launch and will announce the official launch date once that decision has been made.  To learn more about MMIT, our M-Content platform, and the other products and services MMIT provides please visit our website at http://www.mmitonline.com.

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

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

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CNBC Africa correspondent Keisha Gitari recently sat down and spoke with MMIT COO Kim Fraser about the exciting things taking place at MMIT and the official launch of MMIT’s M-content software in November 2012.  If you can please watch the interview this Tuesday 09/11 at 5:30 PM local time.

Kim with CNBC’s Keisha Gitari

MMIT is happy to announce our partnership with FETS in providing mobile content payment for Facebook, BlackBerry App World, EA Sports and others in Nigeria.  This partnership will solidify MMIT in the Nigerian mobile banking and payment space and takes us one step closer to our official product launch in November 2012!

FETS MD Dare Owolabi and MMIT Ceo Jide Akindele signing partnership papers

Check out FETS at http://www.fets.com.ng/index.html

AB: Today I am speaking with Jide Akindele, CEO and founder of MMIT, Mobile Info Tech Limited.  MMIT is a software development company based in Lagos, Nigeria and Boston, MA.   MMIT’s primary focus is the mobile banking industry and MMIT is currently creating a proprietary mobile platform that allows customers to use their mobile phones for personal use such as gaming and social networking, financial use specifically for money transfers and banking, and the purchasing of products and items via the scratch card concept.   Before we get into the meat of the interview I thought I would ask Jide why he chose the mobile banking industry, and why more specifically West Africa and Nigeria?

Jide: My moment of clarity took place on a trip back from Nigeria to the US.  I tried to make a payment for a product in the United States with my Visa Card from Africa and I noticed that it rejected my payment. I thought about individuals in Africa who wouldn’t be able to obtain a credit or debit card to make payments online, so I decided something needed to be done to simplify the payment process for the African market, but that also worked within the existing local payment infrastructure. I then decided to partner up with different content owners in the United States, Europe, and Asia to target Africans for E-Commerce and M-Commerce payment via our proprietary payment gateway.

AB: Could you tell us a little bit about your company and your product and services?

Jide: We have three proprietary products called M-Content, M-Diaspora, and M-Merchant. Each product caters to specifically to African individuals either in Africa or abroad.  Our M-Content focuses solely on Social networking, gaming and interactive sites. This platform will allow a consumer to be able to top up their Skype account, pay for games on Facebook (we call it Facebook Wallet), pay for content at the Apple Store, Android Store, Blackberry App world store, pay for access to EA Sports online console gaming, etc.  Our M-Diaspora software is MMIT’s international mobile money transfer platform, through which money is sent and received globally on transaction requests from any MMIT M-Wallet user world-wide. This is similar to any other cross-border transfer but the our platform allows you to instruct payment from one country to another country from the comfort of your mobile phone or computer-regardless of where you are located and it will get delivered to the recipient through an improved systematized delivery arrangement that epitomizes security, comfort and minimal transaction charges.  Our M-Merchant is a software platform that allows consumers to purchase items online via the scratch card concept. In the African market consumers are known for not having the capability to go online to order goods or pay for services based on the fact that they don’t qualify for a credit card and their computers do not receive recognition from the IP address that the consumer is browsing. MMIT will tie in with merchants such as Gap, Banana Republic, Target, and Wal-Mart to use our M-Merchant platform so consumers in Nigeria can now pay for goods abroad and have it shipped to them in Nigeria. Since this will be a pre-paid business we will create a pool account that allows the merchants access to the payments made by consumers in Nigeria. This will allow the low-end consumer who doesn’t have a credit card to shop online via the scratch card concept.

AB: Could you describe some of the difficulties you face working in an emerging market that you don’t face working in a mature market such as the US or Europe?

Jide: The difficulties I have faced in working in an emerging market are the timeliness factor of projects and the usual change of management when dealing with clients. Unlike the US and Europe it is never a smooth process when it comes to keeping to timelines and there is a constant change in the management of your emerging World clients.

AB: What in your opinion are opportunities that exist in the emerging world that are not available in more traditional market settings?

Jide: Opportunities in the emerging market are huge.  Unlike the traditional market setting the small guys are competing against the giants of the game and you need something with a lot of fire power to really make a mark. What I have seen is the simplicity of a product really makes a difference in the emerging market and to the emerging market consumer. What we have done here at MMIT is take the traditional way of providing payment and simplified it to suit the emerging market’s needs. Simplicity is what works in the emerging World and that’s what I feel really doesn’t exist in the traditional market.

AB: What are the current trends and where do you see the mobile market, but also your company MMIT, being in the next 5 years?

Jide: Well the current trends in the market are content creation, what content can you provide that will draw the consumer to your product.  That is a major trend and it will become a huge thing in the future.  As far as MMIT, I see us being a major player in bringing international content to the emerging market based around our various products.  In the next 5 years we see ourselves being a major payment processor in the African and emerging market scene.

Thank you to Jide for taking time from his busy schedule to meet with me and I hope you enjoyed the insight Mr. Akindele has provided.  You can learn more about MMIT and its products at http://www.mmitonline.com and also check out the link for a recent article on their partnership with Bango, http://www.punchng.com/business/technology/mmit-bango-introduce-virtual-wallet-for-online-transactions/.  Jide can also be reached at jide.a@mmitonline.com.