Archives for posts with tag: Mobile Media Info Tech Limited

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 11.38.40 AM Las Vegas, NV November 2nd-5th 2014 – MMIT will be attending the Money 20/20 Conference at the Aria Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. Money 20/20 is the leading conference for global innovations in money and will be attended by over 7,000 people, including 700 plus CEO’s from 2,400 companies in 60 plus countries. There will be over 500 speakers and some of the key note speakers at this year’s event include Hill Ferguson from Paypal, Kenneth Chenault from American Express, and Tom Taylor from Amazon to name a few. There will also be over 400 sponsors and exhibitors at this event. To find out more about Money 20/20 please visit http://www.money2020.com.

MMIT is a mobile payment processing company that focuses on the Sub-Saharan African market. We work with some of the largest financial institutions in Africa and have access to over 80 million consumers in East and West Africa. MMIT’s mobile technology platform offers secure, fast, and easy payment solutions. MMIT is dedicated to creating forward thinking payment solutions for each transactional demand, all through your mobile phone. To find out more about MMIT please visit http://www.mmitonline.com. Rebecca's blog signature

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AccraH-d1bf92b9-9b06-40bf-8f94-3d70442b4c4eGhana’s Mobile Landscape

The next destination in MMIT’s mobile market series is Ghana, a country that is populated by more mobile phones than people. Ghana presently has a mobile phone penetration rate of nearly 109%, one the highest in all of Africa. However, this statistic does not equate to every Ghanaian owning a mobile phone; this high percentage is due to people having multiple phones or SIM cards. Even so, this statistic is eye-catching to those in the mobile industry and Ghana is a country that should not be ignored.

Phones in GhanaThe actual number of unique mobile phone owners in 2013 was an estimated 15 to 16 million. Ghana continues to see rapid growth in the amount of mobile subscribers, and of all the Sub Saharan countries it is ranked 4th behind Kenya in amount of mobile users.

Ghanaian consumers are more connected to media content compared to other countries in Sub Saharan Africa, largely due to the fact that the country boasts the highest penetration of mobile broadband in the region. Data subscriptions are growing faster than voice and are the focus of players within the industry. Ghana’s telecommunications industry has 6 major providers: MTN, Tigo, Airtel, Glo, Vodafone, and Expresso.

Mobile GhanaThe Ghanaian Consumer 

The spread of media and technology has penetrated so deeply into the country that media touches even the most rural areas. TV, radio, and internet penetration rates exceed most of their African counterparts, while the more traditional newspapers and magazines lag behind. Mobile phones are predominately used for text messaging followed by voice calls and accessing the internet. Social media is extremely popular and ever growing in Ghana placing it behind South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya for most users. The presence of media greatly influences Ghanaians as they are easily swayed by packaging, advertising, and the reputation of a brand.

Ghana ED School

As seen throughout much of Sub Saharan Africa, Ghana has a youthful population, 56% of the 26.4 million residents are under the age of 25. The abundance of youth is the ideal environment for introducing the latest technologies as they are quick to adapt to innovations. Additionally, a large portion of the population is financially excluded. According to Fidelity roughly 70% of the adult population in Ghana is unbanked as of March 2014.

An unbanked population is an opportune environment for mobile payments, as people do not have bank accounts, lack trust in the banking system, and are at large a cash-based economy. Visa reported in 2013 that the Ghanaian market is one of the leading mobile money markets in the world. A survey that was conducted by the payment company revealed 93% of respondents were aware of mobile money options.

Although this may be an attractive market to enter, many mobile payment providers have failed to tap into the market due to its intricacies and barriers to entry.

Business and Economic Environment

Ghana was recognized in 2013 by the Economist as one fastest growing economies in the world. As a result, the country has attracted the interests of investors from all over the world. The political environment is stable and often considered a model for success in West Africa.

Unfortunately, this impressive growth has declined since early 2014 due to currency issues. Ghana has seen the world’s worst currency slide as the Cedi plunged 36% against the dollar this year. As a result of this currency crisis, inflation has spiked to a hefty 15%. This causes concern for entering the country as it effects foreign exchange rates and cost of goods to consumers.

cedi

This currency crisis has led to a rise in taxes on bank transactions. Fees can be as high as 17.5% as a VAT (Value Added Tax) rate, causing people to pull money out of the banks and close their accounts. This only furthers Ghanaian’s mistrust in the government and banking systems.

In light of these issues, many banks have been reacting to the crisis by revamping their brand images, adding new innovative products, and launching new mobile apps in effort to retain and attract customers. Many of these initiatives popped up at the beginning of 2014 and focus on reaching unbanked consumers or debuting never before seen value added services into the product mix.

These issues present an interesting opportunity for the mobile payment market, as people will avoid traditional banking methods or transactions with associated fees. Mobile money is a convenient way to address the unbanked and bring people into some form of financial inclusion.

With changes developing so quickly within the Ghanaian market it presents considerable barriers to entry and thereby furthering the difficulty of entering the market. Those who can successfully enter this market will reap considerable benefits, as the market is risky yet ripe with opportunity – particularly in the mobile sector.

Please check out our “Mobile Market Look” series for Kenya and Nigeria

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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.