For a long time I have campaigned for the rights of the Mobile Money Transfer Agents especially in Kenya…because I walked with them from the beginning. Nobody cares so far… all i hear is many product getting sponsorship left right and center…. and after they get the products in the market they expect the same electronic value that was in the market to suffice..get it right …Donors and Developers, MNO’s, Banks and all of you who want to get into this market that AGENTS NEED HELP ! a simple loan of kes 20000 per agent would go a long way in making a difference in the financial inclusion dream. When will Agents be remembered???
Lets not confuse financial inclusion! Growing up in the village with a Primary school teacher for a mother… we always could tell when end month had arrived. My mother would report to school early, ask for permission to go and collect her salary from Meru town( a 30 minutes drive). Thats the day we knew goodies would come in. My mother had some form of banking….. and this form is what i call Under banked. She could only access her cash by taking a public bus, queing for hours in order to get her hard earned cash. A very good example of an underbanked person. Is she poor… No! being underbanked does not mean poverty. Neither does unbanked ! Stop referring to unbanked and underbanked people as poor. Poor people have no money to save. Who is unbanked? in my context all the village farmers had plenty of farm produce to sell every market day. Where did they put their savings? In a tin dug underground…. literally the true mattress millionaires.
That is the reason why M-PESA was a welcome relief. My first roadshow showcasing M-PESA left the organisers of the event shocked… we went to the people with the slogan ” Register for M-PESA for FREE…get a Pen, Deposit some money and get a TShirt, Send some Money and get a Cap… do all three and get all three for free” I saw market women with huge bundles of up to 30000 kenya shillings. Are these women poor? no …they just didnt know where else to hide their market sales. And the Nokia 1100 did the magic for them.
During my work in M-PESA from Pilot to Launch to Post Launch…i cannot remember when i sat down to enjoy a dinner or lunch. It was passion Passion and Passion. That is what new mobile payments projects of today lack… its all about who gets what! lets not lie to ourselves. Its that big position, sharing those profits like for M-PESA and so on..little do they know ……
In this Financial Inclusion scramble..do we truly understand how we can bring financial inclusion to people… through Mobile phones, or other technologies? Different countries, different entities have interpreted financial inclusion in their own terms..but the only people that truly understand the meaning of financial inclusion are the Equity Bank Kenya People. The entire team has been steered in the right direction by the CEO and now understands how to develop and grow by financially including people in the right way without all the corporate bullshit.
Equity Bank has seen the light in the growth of Mobile Money transfer, Cash transfer and all this time tapping into the unbanked and underbanked and the success story is far from over. Equity is the good example of Financial inclusion. The rest of the gimmicks by corporates is like noise to my ears! Instead of banks tapping into the mattress millionaires through clever tactics like Equity Bank, they extend the boardroom bullshit into hiring wannabe Mobile Payment clown who structure hogwash platforms and systems that are not targetted tto the unbanked or underbanked…and you never get to hear of the said mobile payment systems.
Lets not convince ourselves that Mobile Banking is the same as Mobile money Transfer. Mobile Banking is for the already banked people…how can you bank if you are unbanked…if sometimes we listened to ourselves making the boardroom decisions:) then we could come up with excellent ideas to reach the unbanked. If for a moment we left the airconditioned boardrooms and tried to understand the real meaning of financially including the unbanked.. but do we? we sit hurdled in our boardrooms and bullshit..come up with wrong ideas and go to the market with the same bullshit.
Clear example is Central Bank of Nigeria licensing USSD platforms to roll out mobile money transfer! can someone tell CBN that they are in Nigeria and that USSD can be hacked into anytime of the day… Telco engineers manning the USSD gateway are able to view the details of the txns and the PINs… whats the use ? in the next few months cases of Fraud will rocket.. Then??? we start the song afresh
Truly this is Africa…. in my own opinion