• MTN plans to enter the financial service sector with mobile money next year

African telecoms firm, MTN Group Ltd., says it will be applying for a payment service banking licence next month to enter the financial service sector with mobile money.

The payment service, Airtel, as well as Globacom and 9mobile, are also eyeing licences.

Rob Shuter, MTN Group CEO, told a telecoms conference in Cape Town on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, that the mobile phone firm will apply and launch the mobile money service in Nigeria from June 2019.

“We will be applying for a payment service banking licence in Nigeria in the next month or so, and if all goes according to plan, we will also be launching Mobile Money in Nigeria probably around Q2 of 2019.”

The payment service banks have been successful in Kenya with Safaricom's M-Pesa, doubling as one of the most profitable businesses to start with little capital.

Over 50 million Nigerians still shut out of banking services

According to a 2017 World Bank Global Findex Database report, more than 60 million Nigerians are without bank accounts.

Dipo Fatokun, Director, Banking & Payment Systems, CBN, in June 2018, stated that the apex bank is committed to reducing the population of unbanked Nigerians to at least 20% by 2020.

Nigeria's Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele speaks during the monthly Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, Nigeria May 22, 2018.

In October 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria released draft guidelines for licencing and regulations of payment service banks (PSBs) in the country.

According to the apex bank, the PSBs will facilitate transactions in remittance services, micro-savings and withdrawal services in a technology-driven environment to further deepen financial inclusion and onboard 80% of bankable adults by 2020.