First Bank of Nigeria, FBN, and Etisalat have partnered to add to the successes recorded by Financial Inclusion Strategy in Nigeria.
The collaboration will make FBN’s firstmonie accessible on Etisalat’s easywallet STK menu which is a booster to mobile money in the country.
Financial inclusion is also known as inclusive financing. The Central Bank of Nigeria showed its total commitment to inclusive financing on 23rd October, 2012 when it collaborated with stakeholders to launch the National Financial Inclusion Strategy which serves as a tool for economic development to reduce poverty, generate employment, to create wealth and improve welfare and standard of living in Nigeria.
And since then, several mobile money innovations, e-commerce methods, and mobile banking services have been launched by banking sectors either independently or in partnership with telecommunication companies in order to reduce financial exclusion rate to 20% by 2020, a target set by Nigeria’s apex bank.
Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications at First Bank of Nigeria, Folake Ani-Mumuney, in a statement quoted by PunchMobile said, “Firstmonie has continued to show its commitment to upholding the financial inclusion drive by the Central Bank of Nigeria and this is evident in its recent award of the Best Mobile Money Operator in Nigeria by the EFInA Financial Inclusion Awards.
“Partnering with Etisalat to promote the use of the STK menu as the preferred Mobile Money channel further demonstrates our commitment to lead innovation in the development of secure mobile payment solutions.”
Agency report also quoted Director of Business Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Lucas Dada, as saying, “Etisalat easywallet is one of the most secure and convenient platforms for mobile money services. With the easywallet, Etisalat subscribers can make financial transactions such as peer-to-Peer transfers, bills payment and airtime top-up, directly from their mobile device.”
For financial inclusion to have significant impact there must be an awareness campaign, increase mobile money visibility and education, training and branding of agents as well as the much needed support and issue resolutions which the two companies have agreed to support.
A similar mobile money service was launched between Access Bank and Airtel Nigeria in 2014 dubbed AccessMoney.Though EFInA 2014 Report found out that only 800,000 Nigerian adults currently use mobile money, representing 0.8 percent of the adult population, meaning much still needs to be done considering Nigeria’s adult population.
Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, had expressed concern about accessibility to financial services on 29 December 2003, when he said:
”The stark reality is that most poor people in the world still lack access to sustainable financial services, whether it is savings, credit or insurance. The great challenge before us is to address the constraints that exclude people from full participation in the financial sector. Together, we can and must build inclusive financial sectors that help people improve their lives.”
The working together of financial institutions and telecom firms is going to intensify inclusive financing in Nigeria. The world has seen how Safaricom tactically implemented M-Pesa in Kenya, where farmers, shop owners, petty traders domiciled in both villages and cities now have access to finances.
A great partnership; but Mobile Banking Watch believes that all telecommunication firms coming into partnership with banking institutions need to improve on their network services, particularly at the villages where receptions are still very low.
Not just that, another 2014 Survey by Punchtab said payment apps need awareness campaigns for the prospective users to fully explore the services imbedded in such mobile wallet.
However, such awareness campaign must not just concentrate only on the cities, residents at villages across the Nigeria need to be carried along as well.
It will be inclusive when the average people, farmers, and others irrespective of geographical locations can enjoy the same services enjoyed by the city people.