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Mobile loans to enhance Nigeria financial inclusion

sa financial inclLAGOS, (CAJ News) – THE rapidly evolving electronic business sector, driven chiefly by the concept of mobile loans, will enhance financial inclusion in Nigeria in the coming years.

This is the prevailing sentiment from the just-ended Committee of e-Banking Heads (CeBIH) Conference held in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

Themed “Mobile Payments for Financial Inclusion”, new prospects and perspectives were brought to light regarding the concept of e-banking and financial inclusion as well as future possibilities and trends that are currently in the incubation process.

Central among the ideas exchanged was the concept of the ‘mobile loans’ model that focuses on savings and loans and was carried out solely via mobile devices.

Eric Muriuki Njagi, General Manager, New Business Ventures, Commercial Bank of Africa, Kenya, while facilitating a technical session, discussed Kenya’s evolution towards a digital financial ecosystem; using the ‘M-Shwari’, and ‘M-Pawa’ models.

The two mobile-centric banking solutions offer both savings and loan products, with the objective of availing simple and affordable financial services closer to the customers, thereby supporting the financial inclusion agenda in Kenya, Tanzania and the wider East Africa.

He stated that both products have been hugely accepted in the East Africa market, and if replicated here, would be the most likely way of breaking into Nigeria’s large unbanked market.

In explaining the thought behind mobile loans, the chairman of CeBIH, Tunde Kuponiyi, said because of the convergence onto mobile platforms now and because of the opportunities there might be for them in creating a new market in terms of inclusion, they decided to take a second look at mobile and in truth, and they saw new perspectives.

“We all keep talking about mobile money, maybe that’s not all that will enhance the inclusion per say, maybe it is mobile loans,” said Kuponiyi.

Another high point of the conference was the presentation of Interswitch Financial Inclusions Services (IFIS), a brainchild of one Africa’s fastest growing technology companies, Interswitch, by its Divisional Chief Executive Officer, Mike Ogbalu.

He stated that Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services was a platform created for the sole purpose of bringing banking services within the reach of Nigeria’s considerable unbanked population, estimated at 56 million.

“With IFIS, the agent is at the centre of our world and we understand that the would-be agents requires a compelling value proposition.

“Therefore we will first seek to empower the agent with knowledge, skills and tools to deliver financials services in a very unique way, stating that for IFIS, the long term perspective of our business model seeks to create value first, and thereafter comes the profit,” said Ogbalu.

– CAJ News

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