Lagos - 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
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.
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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
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
“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,”
- CAJ News