This excellent event was the first in a series of roundtables that Mark will be running as part of his fellowship programme at the CSFI and we’ll be asking him along to next year’s Digital Money Forum as well so you can meet him there if not before.
Indications have emerged that Nigerian banks have moved against the quest of MTN Nigeria and Zain to obtain M-Banking license operations from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The regulatory body has only issued one mobile banking operating license to MoneyBoxAfrica to deplore branchless banking services across the country… the refusal of the apex bank to grant the [m-banking] license is as a result of Nigerian banks antagonistic to the idea.[From ftr-africa.com – Financial Technology Report, Africa]
In Kenya, where the M-PESA mobile payment scheme is massive, the regulator had wisely decided to allow Safaricom to go ahead and launch that service despite bank pressure. The result has been a fantastically successful scheme that has transformed for the better the lives of million of Kenyans. But someone told me that the Kenyan regulator has now decided to revisit the situation and perhaps “tighten up” rules, inspired no doubt by the banks’ genuine concerns for customer protection and the soundness of the in-country remittance market. Incidentally, you may not be aware that M-PESA has been launched in other countries. Afghanistan, for example.
Take Afghan GSM operator Roshan; they recently licensed Safaricom’s hugely successful M-PESA system, and one of the first applications for it is paying the Afghan army.[From Telco 2.0: March 2009 Archives]
When the alternative is transporting tons of cash through some of the most dangerous highways and byways in the world, the mobile phone offers a millionfold improvement whatever the regulators’ concerns might be. Mobile money is unstoppable.