“If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it” ~ Peter Drucker

Photo Credit: GSMA State of Industry Report

Measuring the growth of mobile money is an annual tradition spearheaded by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA). Their State of the Industry Mobile Money Report has helped stakeholders to realise the immense growth rate and development of mobile money across the world, while also highlighting the untapped potentials still locked within the sector.

The 2020 pandemic provided the mother of all stress tests for mobile money infrastructure as the world economy grinded to a halt and the operations of traditional financial service providers were stilted by lockdowns and social distancing protocols. In what eventually became mobile money’s finest…

Open banking could introduce a new era of innovation and collaboration but like all innovations, execution will be the determining factor

The Central Bank of Nigeria has been on a roll. Over the last three years, the regulator has released a slew of guidelines in a bid to improve financial inclusion — the PSB guidelines and license in 2018, the regulatory sandbox framework in 2020, and most recently, the open banking framework (an exposure draft has been circulated among operators and stakeholders).

This article is focused on the proposed Open Banking regime and its potential impact on financial inclusion.

So what is open banking and what’s the fuss about?

Open banking is the authorised provision of consumer banking data to third…

This month’s Tracker features a call by the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Mr. Iyiola Ayoola, for federalizing legislative power over Communication.[1] According to him, this will ensure that the states and local governments promote quicker and more democratic spread of broadband and other critical digital economy services. It would also obviate that problem of inapt policies due to over-centralization where decisions are taken in Abuja, far from the realities on the ground. …

Photo Credit: Harriet Kariuki

The news reported the brokering of an amicable resolution of the dispute between key stakeholders in the telecommunication and banking industry on the pricing of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) that could have severely disrupted banking services and the economy. The policy on USSD services was designed to promote “cost effective, more user-friendly, and handset agnostic” low-value financial transactions. Incidentally, it promotes inclusion, as it enables use of feature phones for financial transactions, does not require data or internet to operate and is easily accessible anytime and anywhere. However, as the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) points…

Picture Credit: The Plum Basket

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued the Open Banking Regulatory Framework (“the Framework”) on 17 February 2021, having observed the emerging practice and integration between banks and innovators around open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

Open Banking is a collaborative model allowing banking data to be shared between two unrelated players thereby leveraging on their mutual capabilities and synergies in order to extend innovative product and services and enhance economic performance. The expectation is that the initiatives will stimulate innovation that will ultimately and more rapidly increase financial inclusion.

International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate progress in women’s leadership, applaud advances in gender equality and recognize the sacrifices made by many unknown women and men to make our world more just and equitable. In spite of some progress which we’re thankful for, there is yet so much left to do. This is a time to renew our commitment to women’s financial inclusion, empowerment, and resilience in the context of a changing climate.

Mind the Gap

An additional $28 trillion can be added to the global GDP by 2025 if we close the gap between men and…

Solving profitability challenges, leveraging unique resources and extending the range of permissible activities

On Monday, February 22, 2021, SIDFS hosted a webinar themed: Supporting the Payment Service Bank (PSB) Regime in Nigeria, inpartnership with Dvara Research India. The webinar aimed to deepen understanding of Payment Banks (PBs), their role so far in India’s financial inclusion journey and the lessons we can glean to enhance Nigeria’s own Payment Service Bank journey.

India is the poster child for PBs, being the first nation to create such a specialized bank license category to provide financial access for India’s largely underserved populations. The webinar featured expert presentations highlighting India’s PB journey and Nigeria’s justifications in adopting the…

Photo Credit: MarketnewsNG

The New BOFIA Act has generated a mixed reaction of applause, harsh criticism and apprehension by various stakeholders. The misgivings of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), according to the Senate’s response, cannot sensibly be dismissed as being self-serving, extreme or unlearned. It is unclear if a regulatory impact assessment of the law was undertaken before its passage. Arguably, stakeholder consultation may have been inadequate and the law seems to be a fiat legislation based on an overly centralizing and micro-controlling regulatory posture. This piece examines salient provisions that relate to financial inclusion.

Section 5(6) imposes personal liability on directors…

Photo Credit: SmallBusiness

In my previous article, I wrote about consumer protection and operators’ market conduct. I’d like to revisit the theme of market conduct by presenting snippets of data from a recent empirical survey we conducted on “Regulators Perception of Financial Service Providers in the DFS Ecosystem”. In part, the survey was targeted at 50 regulators from a cross-section of financial services regulatory agencies who had participated in an extended interaction with SIDFS and had the objective of seeking to understand regulator — operator relations within the DFS Ecosystem. A questionnaire was administered to the respondents and responses were received from 33…

The industry’s product-market fit problem doesn’t seem to be going away

2020 was a milestone year, and the COVID-19 pandemic introduced new unforeseen factors, distorting the country’s financial inclusion journey and further exposing the fragility of the financial services system.

The lockdown and its antecedents emphasised the need to innovate and re-imagine financial products and services to meet the evolving needs and expectations of customers, improve product-market fit and move the financial inclusion needle.

Over the last four years, our flagship publication, the annual Digital Financial Services in State of Market report (SOMR), has reported the state of digital financial services and financial inclusion in Nigeria, providing insights about consumers, providers…

Sustainable and Inclusive DFS

We work with government, financial services regulators, donors and the private sector to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria through #research #advocacy

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