Financial Inclusion: MTN targets over 36.6million unbanked customers

… launches ‘MoMo Agent’ Network

By Etuka Sunday

Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), a subsidiary of MTN Nigeria yesterday launched its super-agent network service named ‘MoMo Agent’ to target over 36.6million unbanked customers, as part of the Financial Inclusion drive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Recall, the World Bank Group considers financial inclusion a key enabler to reduce extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, and has put forward an ambitious global goal to reach Universal Financial Access (UFA) by 2020.
CBN has a target to achieve 80% Financial Inclusion in the country by the year, 2020 and has mobilised stakeholders this year to brainstorm on the speedy ways this set target could be achieved.
Global Findex data said, about 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked—without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. In 2014 that number was 2 billion.
In Nigeria, a data released by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) indicates that about 36.8% of eligible Nigerian adults do not have access to Financial Services. This is down from 41.6% recorded in 2016.
The EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2018 Survey gives the population of Adults in Nigeria to be 99.6 million (49.9% Male and 50.1% Female). Out of the 99.6 million, 36.6 million Adults, representing (36.8%) are Financially excluded in Nigeria. 71.3% of the financial excluded adults, according to the survey own mobile phones.
Speaking at the formal launch of the ‘MoMo Agent’ in Abuja, the YDFS Director, Usoro Usoro said, “about 36 million Nigerians are banked, the other percentage of Nigerians are unbanked.
“The question is why do they remain unbanked despite all the years and efforts of trying to drive inclusion? That is because of two primary things: the problem of identity and the problem of access to financial infrastructure, whether bank branches or ATMs.
“We have a clear means of how we intend to solve and address this problems in the MOMO Agent service. The issue of identity, every agent that carries a cellphone today, has done a basic registration that is validated provided basic information to tell us who he is and that meets what the CBN needs to Know Your Customers(KYC),” he said.
Usoro said, “going forward, anyone, anywhere in Nigeria can send and receive money through a MoMo Agent in their neighbourhood. We intend to expand the range of financial services offered once the CBN grants approval for a Payment Banking license.
“YDFS plan to rollout about 500,000 Agents spread across all states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“MoMo Agents will immediately begin providing safe and accessible money transfer services to underserved and unbanked people across Nigeria,” he said.
On the possibility of fraudulent activities in the system, he said, “any agent that is found to have flout any of our rules and immediately identified, would be taken out of the network.”
On cost implications, he said, N100 flat rate would be charged for the transaction from Sender and Receiver which according to him, is a total cost of cash conversion, transportation and bank to bank transfer.
Also speaking at the launch, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman said, “I am excited by the possibilities. We are fortunate to be part of the telecoms industry which underpins the digital economy and is critical to inclusive development and the future economic growth of this great nation.
“The launch of the YDFS MoMo Agent is especially significant to us. It further demonstrates our commitment to remain focused on enhancing Nigerian’s access to financial services, and in so doing, connect them to what is most important to them.
“The MoMo Agent Network compliments existing banking services by extending access to simple money transfer services and other financial services nationwide,” he said.

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