Eli Hini, CEO, MoMo PSB Nigeria has said that Nigeria has a better opportunity than other African countries to excel in financial and digital inclusion if traditional banks, PSBs and fintechs can work together.
Eli made this assertion during a fireside chat, at the 4th edition of the MSME and Startup Summit hosted by Vanguard and the Economic Forum Series, held on Thursday, August 24, 2023, at the Civic Centre Lagos.
When asked what was preventing Nigeria from achieving financial inclusion success like Ghana and Kenya, despite being Africa’s largest economy, Eli highlighted three areas, for improvement to achieve financial and digital inclusion in Nigeria. He stated “A lot of work has gone into agent banking and there is a good amount of POS and financial service points. What is next is for us to utilize those assets to drive innovation and adoption of digital payments. You will find that most people mainly use their cards to access cash and then use the cash for their next transactions. We need to look for ways to ensure that people use their cards for digital payment rather than just cash withdrawals”
“The other thing is the level of collaboration between traditional banks or deposit money banks, Fintechs, Payment Service Banks and other payment service platforms. That collaboration needs to be deepened. Traditional banks have their limitations, the cost it entails to set up a bank branch cannot be risked in certain communities because their economy does not allow for it, but setting up an agent doesn’t cost that much. Also, the technologies that the fintechs and payment service operators bring are upscale, and they are able to reach more people at a cheaper cost.”
“The last is the area of education and information, how much information is out there, and how many people are educated about the solutions and the services available to them, so they can be informed to take up these services and solutions? Once we can deal with these three factors, I think Nigeria has a better opportunity than the other countries that have excelled in this area, because of the huge numbers and the transformations happening here.”
Speaking on how MoMo PSB is driving financial inclusion in rural areas, Hini stated that MoMo has been able to leverage the retail networks of its parent company, MTN. By onboarding the retail network as agents, MoMo PSB has been able to reach every corner of Nigeria. He added that at the community level, MoMo also works with small businesses that have an interest in providing agent services, that way they can reach communities that have any form of commercial or informal activity and offer financial solutions to them. “Our focus is not on Lagos alone, it is everywhere you find Nigerians who need financial solutions and we are offering those solutions through MoMo PSB,” Hini stated.