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Banks, Telcos at War over Mobile Money

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An unnecessary cold war has broken out between the financial and telecommunication sectors of Nigerian economy over who controls mobile payment, the forecasted next big thing for financial inclusion and lucrative returns for operators, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can now reveal.
It was never hot topic until telcos and banks started two years ago to eye the so-called uneaten pies following report that the mobile money market would be worth as much as $7 billion in 2012.
Mobile money is now the buzz word in Nigeria because riding on the over 70 million phones in the country; it can compensate for the uneven spread of banking halls, bad roads and slow postal services and so on.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that attempts by banks and telcos to launch mobile money services have failed largely because of regulatory barriers, lack of interoperability with banks and other operators, service complexity and bad user experience elsewhere.
But the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has opted for the creation of an enabling regulatory environment as a policy path towards achieving availability, acceptance and usage of mobile payments services. The policy is expected to open up the market.
As Nigerians await mass mobile money operations, local banks claim they have long history of managing money and confidence of depositors and businesses, and therefore better positioned to deliver mobile money particularly person to person payments (over the mobile phone infrastructure).
Disagreeing, the telcos with ever growing subscriber base insist that in their short life span that they have touched more lives and established strong nationwide distribution systems and excelled in handling micro-payments worth millions on a daily basis in the form of top-ups.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that the telcos have every reason to feel so as their counterparts in some emerging mobile money markets have taken the lead with banks as partners.
For instance, M-Pesa is a Safaricom (Telco) service in Kenya allowing money transfer using a mobile phone. M-Pesa has a banking partner and is one of the world’s most studied models.
Elsewhere, MTN pioneered mobile banking in South Africa in 2005 in a partnership with Standard Bank.
These are however examples of markets where the financial regulators were pro-active instead of allowing the innovators to enter and create a market and then they decide how to regulate.
The new CBN policy on mobile money queued behind these markets and favours banks led model ahead of telcos and independent scheme operator.
The CBN identified three major payment models in “the regulatory framework for mobile payments services in Nigeria” recently released.
“This framework has identified three major models for the implementation of mobile payments services namely; Bank –focused- financial institutions as lead initiator, Bank led – financial institution(s) and/or its consortium as lead initiator and Non-Bank led a corporate organisation as lead initiator” the CBN said
According to the CBN, the lead initiator shall be responsible for ensuring that the various solutions and services within a mobile payment system meet the entire regulatory requirement as defined by it.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that the war over who leads any of the initiatives is needless because both are complementary to existing financial services.
For instance, in mobile payments, the question is not who is keeping the money but who is dealing with the customer. If the customer is dealing with the bank, the mobile operator becomes a mere conduit.
The most pressing concerns should be the provision of adequate protection for consumers, ensure economic stability, provide interoperability of electronic systems and guarantee security of transactions.


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Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

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The Rivers State government and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), energy company, recently inaugurated the Egi/Igburu Cluster Development Board (CDB) for pipeline communities to SPDC’s Assa North Gas project, which has a capacity for 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and the potential to be one of the largest domestic gas projects in Nigeria when completed.

Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

Barrister Elloka Tasie-Amadi, State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, at the ceremony, urged the Comrade Orikoha Ekwueme-led newly elected officials of the CDB to use the opportunity of leadership to make positive impacts that will improve living standards in their communities.

He said, “The state government is always available to support you. Always speak with your people, including the Community Trust Committees (which were also newly inaugurated). Adequate communication will ensure the buy-in of all your stakeholders”.

He decried those who see leadership as opportunity for self-seeking gains. “Leadership is more of sacrifice; not an opportunity for personal benefit”, The Commissioner said.

Also, at the inauguration, Mr. Igo Weli, SPDC general manager External Relations,  said, “The Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), that you signed today, sets the framework for long-term partnership between SPDC JV and the Egi/Igburu Cluster. The GMoU runs on the principle of community-led development. Today, SPDC JV commits to providing funding to help you realise your community development aspirations.”

Represented at the ceremony by Dr. Banji Adekoya, SPDC External Relations Manager for Projects and Opportunities, he asked the CDB to “be prudent and implement projects and programmes that will deliver maximum benefits to the Egi/Igburu communities. Note that government, SPDC JV and the communities that you represent will hold you accountable for the judicious utilisation of the development funds.”

“With the inauguration, SPDC reiterates the company’s commitment to the Assa North Gas Project and to making it an exemplary one, particularly in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency, for power generation and industrialization”, he said.

On its part, the new CDB committed to use SPDC’s award-winning GMoU agreement, which is a community-led sustainable development and interface management model that puts the communities in the driving seat in setting development priorities and implementation of programmes and projects to meet their needs.

The GMOU is a proven winning approach introduced in 2006, adopted across SPDC’s operational areas and provides a secure five-year funding for communities to implement development projects of their choice.

With the inauguration of the Egi/Igburu CDB, SPDC now has 40 active GMoUs in Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers States. Since 2006, SPDC JV has disbursed a total of $252 million to communities through these GMoUs.

The Assa North/Ohaji South gas project is a joint venture project involving the SPDC, the NNPC, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, and will result in a new SPDC gas processing plant.

The development will help the federal government deliver on its ambition to provide enough gas for domestic consumption, power generation and gas-based ammonia and urea fertilizers for farmers.


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African Entrepreneurs Vying for Anzisha Recognition

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The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has revealed its top 20 finalists for 2020. Winners will be announced at this year’s Anzisha Prize Conference on 27 October 2020.

Organisers say this year’s application season saw a record 1 200 applicants vying for a chance to join the Anzisha Prize fellowship.

From these applications, 20 businesses emerged that were 45% percent female-owned and represented sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and education.

Young entrepreneurs from Morocco, South Africa and Tanzania displayed impressive ventures that are tackling critical issues within their communities while also turning a profit. Through their businesses and entrepreneurial leadership skills, these job starters are paving a way for other young Africans to pursue entrepreneurship.

Selected as a top 20 finalist is 21-year-old Alaa Moatamed who is the co-founder of Presto, a company she describes as one of the leading delivery management platforms in Egypt. The venture provides business owners with an affordable and convenient delivery service for their customers.

Joining Alaa is 20-year-old Benjamin Mushayija Gisa from Rwanda who manufactures and packages natural organic products for consumption and for cosmetic purposes in the form of lotions and coconut soap.

“2020 has seen a global shift in the future of work. This year’s applicants have personified the resilience and innovation that Africa needs as we navigate our way into a post-COVID-19 future,” says Melissa Mbazo-Ekepenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize.

The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has supported 122 entrepreneurs and 77 of those businesses have created over 2 000 jobs, with 56% of those being employment provided for young Africans under 25.

Peter Materu, Chief Program Officer, Mastercard Foundation says, “The success of the Anzisha Prize over the last decade stands as a resounding testament to the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of Africa’s very young people—a hugely under-tapped resource.

Through Anzisha, we’re reminded of what they can achieve when challenged and enabled to own and solve the problems they see around them. Now, as ever, the innovations that have emerged through the Anzisha Prize inspire and renew our faith in and commitment to their promise.”

This year, the top 20 will gather virtually from their various countries to share knowledge and learn from expert coaches and mentors as they prepare for their final pitches to a panel of external judges.

All the entrepreneurs will receive a cash prize of US$2 500. The grand prize winner will receive US$25 000, while the 1st runner and 2nd runner receive US$15 000 and US$12 500 respectively.


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FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

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Federal Government has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to operate in Nigeria.

FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

This is part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, confirmed this via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to Sirika, the decision was taken following a meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and European Unions (EU).

The ban would take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.

“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.

“The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Sirika tweeted.


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