I and a couple of others have really been asking; when shall we have a roll out of Mobile money in Nigeria? You could recall that CBN issue provisional licenses to mobile money operators earlier in the year. I expected that having been working on the solution before the licenses were issued, at least one should be out there in the market. Well, to my dismay, they have not really been given a go ahead, even as solutions of some are ready. I have tested a couple of the solutions and I think they are set to dive into the market.
In my quest to know what really is the cause of the delay? I have heard that CBN will explicitly utter to the world… on your mark, get set… Go, before they can start offering the service! Yea, the utterance is simple but the clog is there is no timeline as to when it will go public. None of the providers can launch until CBN wants them to. So the biggest question is, when shall we here this from CBN?
Why the politics?
Politics? Is it connected to 2011 elections? No, no, no! It’s not! Really you need to understand that they are many interests holding the service from launch, most of whom have stakes in the banking sector who fears been overtaken by the service. Most Nigerian banks are still “Start-ups” as they are in search of business model after the burst. Well, they are really very influential as you could see their impact on the restriction on the license; No telecom operator can provide mobile money service. Safaricom which is the first success story in mobile money currently moves about 20% of Kenya’s GDP, that’s huge for a company that’s not a licensed bank.
So, I am currently keeping my fingers cross until the day CBN will blow the whistle, I think they could be pressured to start early as huge investments are currently being made in anticipation of the boom.