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Nigeria’s communications minister predicts mobile money boom

Nigeria’s Minister for Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson, has announced that by 2015 the value of mobile money transactions in Nigeria will have jumped to almost US$1 billion.

This, she said, is premised on the current jostle for expansion by the nation’s 16 mobile payment operators.

The latest figures showed that Nigeria’s total value of transactions on mobile money networks currently stands at 228 million naira (about $1.2 million).

In addition, the minister said the nation recorded an increase in its total volume of non-store shopping from 62 billion naira in 2011 to 77.5 billion naira in 2012. This increase, experts believe, was centrally driven by increasing internet penetration and expanding online retailing.

By 2015, Johnson said the value of non-store shopping will increase to about 658 billion naira.

“Verified Mobile Money Agents currently stand at 3,000 and expectations are that the number of agents will increase to 50,000 by 2015,” the minister said.

She made reference to a recent survey which revealed that out of about 29 million Nigerians who are operating bank accounts, only 400,000 are registered with mobile money operators. This, she said, will drastically improve before 2015.

According to the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access survey, about 4.8 million adult
Nigerians know about mobile money.

In other words, only 1.4 percent of Nigerian bank account holders are using mobile money
options. This shows the hurdles that mobile money service operators need to scale in Nigeria in order for the service to gain solid footing in Nigeria.

Experts however believe the current hurdles don’t belittle the enormous potentials of the service in Nigeria.

They also noted the low penetration is a result of the inability of the service providers and financial institutions to clearly define the benefits that customers stand to enjoy when they use the service.

Posted in: Mobile

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