The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently issued operating licenses to 11 mobile money firms, namely: Fortis Mobile Money, UBA/Afripay, GTBank Mobile Money, Pagatech, eTranzact, Monetise, Eartholeum, Paycom, FET, Ecobank and Kudi. The operating license allows the companies to provide products such as electronic payments through mobile phones.
Fortis Mobile Money, a sister company of Fortis Microfinance Bank, is incorporating technology from Fundamo, a Nigerian mobile banking and payment software provider, into its mobile money offerings. Fortis Microfinance Bank was licensed by CBN to operate as a microfinance bank in October 2007. Financial Data on Fortis is not available from the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange or other standard sources.
Some observers are optimistic that mobile payment services will bring financial to many of the 70 million people who are mobile subscribers in Nigeria, a country where 28 million have bank accounts. Mobile money operators in Nigeria are reportedly preparing to roll out innovative services to address the approximately 67 percent of the Nigerian adult population who have never been banked and to increase financial inclusion to the un-served communities that have been shut out by the formal banking sector.
By Carol Kim, Research Associate
About Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN): The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), established in 1958, is Nigeria’s central banking authority. As defined by the 1958 Act of Parliament that created CBN, its statutory mandates are as follows: “to issue legal tender currency; to maintain external reserves; to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency; to promote monetary stability and a sound financial system in Nigeria; and to act as banker and financial adviser to the Federal Government.” As of July 2011, CBN reports total assets of NGN 8.37 trillion (the equivalent of USD 54 billion).
Sources and Additional Resources:
Business Day: “Mobile Money operators prepare to roll out financial services”, August 2011, http://www.businessdayonline.com/NG/index.php/tech/telecoms/26568-mobile-money-operators-prepare-to-roll-out-financial-services
Mobile Money Africa: “How we managed Nigeria’s largest Mobile payment pilot”, August 2011, http://mobilemoneyafrica.com/how-we-managed-nigerias-largest-mobile-payment-pilot-henry-nwawuba/
MicroCapital.org: “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Survey: Nigeria Falls Behind South Africa, Kenya, Botswana in Financial Access”, August 16, 2011, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-survey-nigeria-falls-behind-south-africa-kenya-botswana-in-financial-access/
MicroCapital.org: “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Articles From UK’s The Guardian, Nigeria’s Business Daily Online Praise Potential of Mobile Banking, Microfinance Across Africa”, August 8, 2011, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-articles-from-uk’s-the-guardian-nigeria’s-business-daily-online-praise-potential-of-mobile-banking-microfinance-across-africa/
MicroCapital’s Universe Profile: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Central+Bank+of+Nigeria+%28CBN%29
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