Expert Seeks Telcos Involvement in MobileMoney to Ignite Growth
EMMANUEL Okoegwale, Principal Associate, Mobilemoney Africa, has stressed the need for telecommunications operators to be directly involved in the mobile money ecosystem to enable greater growth.
According to him, “based on perception of risk by the regulator, telcos cannot take the lead position to offer the services directly to their customers. Experience has shown that where the Moble network operators (MNOs) operate mobilemoney, growth and uptake is significant across diverse use cases however the appropriation of risk by the regulator did not allow such participation in the case of Nigeria. Definitely, we could have seen better uptake and adoption if they are allowed to participate directly in the ecosystem.”
He added that; “Overall in Africa, mobile financial services and remittances is on the upswing in Countries like Kenya and Zimbabwe and a couple of East African nations. We are already right in the middle of 2015 and our expectation in Nigeria is still same, increased uptake, awareness, growth and adoption of mobile financial services. The agency aspect of the ecosystem is still very much underdeveloped aside some little efforts here and there. Growth and availability of the agency network is a major hinderance to the adoption and success of the scheme in Nigeria.”
He further explained that some positives seen so far is that operators are beginning to come together to tackle these issues.
‘Firms like MATS ltd, working with TOTAL are championing shared agent networks and they are beginning to operate in some states across Nigeria and that is a great leap for the industry in 2015’.
Reacting to regulatory framework, Okoegwale said that, no regulatory framework on its own is cast in stone, but can be reviewed based on perception of risk by the regulator and also to ensure certainty in the market place.
He noted that, the regulator had been updating many aspects of the policy framework since the initial version and also released draft framework for super and shared agency network, agency banking among others. “The Regulator is at the fore front of ensuring sustainability in the ecosystems and they will keep making the changes as necessary till they achieve desired outcomes but the industry should also understand that regulators are not quick to make changes without compelling reasons. They want to be in control based on their risk assessment and also understand the impact of non bank actors, playing direct role in the provisioning of basic financial services in the country”.