The plan tagged Vision 2020 speaks to the significance of the year 2020 in the Nigerian national psyche. While the plan’s biggest projection of placing Nigeria in the top twenty global economies by 2020 may not come to fruition next year, one big innovation that would make the attainment of such grand goals feasible would grip the nation in a mania next year. Coming from the fintech sector of the digital economy, mobile money would be giving the entire economy a makeover.

From the musings above, it is easy to decode that one digital trend that will take Nigeria by storm is mobile money mania. Nigeria lags in the deployment of mobile money solutions even by African standards. Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa are very much ahead of Nigeria in the use of mobile money products. This state of affairs is mostly attributable to regulatory constraints, but with the country’s apex bank releasing the brakes, the Nigerian market is set to roar off. The fintech arm of Nigeria’s burgeoning digital technology industry would be rising to the challenge of making good on the lost years and positioning Nigeria where it should rightly be in the pantheon of digital financial services users.

Mobile money in Nigeria

Mobile money is the digital storage and management of money in an account linked to a phone number. The user has a mobile money account similar to a bank account through which he can send money, pay bills, and make purchases. Mobile money is not nascent in Nigeria, Paga, a non-telecoms financial services provider already runs an operation that boasts 12 million users and 20000 agents on the ground. However, the advent of Nigeria’s telecoms firms into the mix promises to be a good game-changer. Nigeria’s biggest telecommunications firm, MTN, has already launched its operation on 29th August 2019. It’s main rivals, Glo and Airtel, are also warming up to join the fray.

How mobile money will change the face of financial services in Nigeria

The financial services sector of the Nigerian economy will be experiencing a makeover with the mobile money revolution. Nigeria has a large population of unbanked with CNN estimating that only 40% of the population has bank accounts. It is also a fact that the biggest percentage of unbanked people live in rural areas in Nigeria. With the rural telephony penetration of telecommunications firms, more people would start experiencing financial inclusion. To give a fillip to this, the Central Bank of Nigeria mandates that at least a quarter of the service points must be in rural areas. This fintech offering would also open up a new vista for firms and service providers to receive payments through another channel other than the traditional channels.

Industries that will benefit from the fintech revolution

Firms and industries offering services that require receiving deposits and remitting payments to clients would be rubbing their hands in glee at the revolution mobile money would bring to their businesses. A good example is online betting sites in Nigeria 2020. Betting companies like Bet9ja, Nairabet, and Betway would be glad to have the payment channel join the available channels for making payments on their platform. Mobile money is already the preferred mode of making payments in the Kenyan online betting and casino industry, their Nigerian counterparts wouldn’t mind jumping in the fray at this point. Apart from making the process of making payments easier, more subscribers can get on their platform with the penetration of financial services to rural areas.

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