I was lucky to have worked on M-PESA, Lucky to have worked with Vodafone and Sagentia team, I am lucky to have worked for Glo in the Mobile Money Department, Lucky to have worked with Kabira Team now Tibco, Lucky to have interacted with Gemalto all the while, Lucky to have worked with Fortis Mobile Money, Cellulant, Sterling Bank, EFina, Central Bank of Nigeria, Comviva and Airtel Money, Ezee Money kenya, Iceni and Bank of Khartoum and more importantly worked with Angie and Abbie in my Company Red Ant. I can only say that I have seen all the Mobile payments around and about.
Getting back home after 3 years in Lagos was no mean fete. I have grown as a person, a lot of things in my life make more sense than they did 3 years ago. M-PESA was all lived for back then, thanks to Safaricom. Safaricom was a learning pad but i have learnt and grown. Its not a place to stay any longer after your learnings. M-PESA was great and continues to be.
Yes I am back by choice. Globacom taught me so much. Thank you so much Cesar Camara, Nicholas Eneje, Adewale Sangowawa and not forgetting the mighty bull.. Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr. Your teachings and how you run your company might not be so attractive in the beginning but whoever learns the true lesson of who you want to be..becomes better much better after Globacom. I never had fairy tale dream house or a car. But the lessons learnt at Glo made me who I am today. To Globacom and Dr Adenuga, I salute you! Thank you for changing my life forever, financially, mentally am well rounded to face the world. You removed the fear from me… I face the world courageously.
Back to Kenya, I see things more clearly, the con games, the users, the business opportunities, the friends and the foes. I have learnt when to stay and when to run. Despite the huge M-PESA success, both agents and customers have enjoyed what we created years ago. But just like Kanu…. slowly but surely a revolution is inevitable in terms of new mobile money deployments. Kenyans are disgruntled but i guess they are pretty used to taking what they have and shutting up. Safaricom knows this and therefore does not care much.
I got a bit shocked when 6 years after leaving M-PESA an agent calls me asking for my help. I jogged my mind and took them through the M-PESA system and they were able to sort out a simple problem of the Primary till. I asked myself, if this small problem took my effort to resolve… what exactly are agents going through?
Time to do something about this.This is not the vision we had for the Kenyan people. Agents sound like beggars. I call them ” The safaricom Investor Beggars”
Will talk about these beggars in another day, another time..for now, time to deliver a true financial inclusion platform to the Kenyans. It will not matter which network you will be in or whether you are offline or online. You will be able to Send money, pay your bills , bank your money, and all you ever dreamt of…
Till then… its my opinion as usual
Confusion has even escalated , all the terminology is sending all the Mobile Money Operators in Nigeria into a dizzy spell…Initially they wanted Mobile Money Transfer…so Central Bank issued them with Mobile Money Transfer licences. Then the strategy went haywire… the market got flooded with all kinds of terminology..
Now I hear Mobile banking, is going to drive mobile money transfer… eish am tired… how is the banked person going to build the unbanked?
If you have been in Nigeria long enough you will know that those who have dont care about the have nots…
have you not seen big jeeps being followed by chase cars? have you not seen Nigerians scavenging and begging for food? Dont you know that Nigeria is a big oil exporter?
How then is a banked person going to drive mobile money?? its like saying the House help dictates the shopping budget!
Its twisted…. They are my forgotten people.. hopefully God will remember them in this split world of the haves and the havenots…
We shall bank them eventually…even if it takes 10 yrs.
In this race to bring financial inclusion to unbanked people with most companies using greed for money as the basis of their product roll out.. they are currently planting orange trees in readiness to get a good yield of mangoes.
The vendors of the mobile banking platforms as usual come and dump their non conforming platforms that are modification of airtime distribution systems.. after all Africa is the dumping ground.. and as long as something is from the west…it must be good
I applaud Stanbic IBTC, Paga, and others for striving to have an inhouse platform …Keep going keep strong…eventually you will get there…
Financial Inclusion for all…. www.mmtacademy.com see you there
” God lives in Nigeria and visits other countries” Otherwise how would you explain a place where every household stores not less than 10 litres of petrol next to the residence.. surely God holds Nigeria on his palm..because if he lived elsewhere things would get worse. This is just me being me never mind.
I fell in Love with the mobile phone years ago …or Sinceeeee..like we say in Lagos meaning way way back..this English:) That was when I first saw a neighbor with a huge phone( size of the current Galaxy note). History repeats itself..first there was this huge mobile phone with initials KP &TC meaning Kenya Post and Telecommunications — we have come from far.. then the size reduced with class…to small Nokia phones…then again human being realised that bigger is better …and Ipad, Iphone…. Steve Jobs…God bless your soul…we went to HTC sensation, Desire… things got a little sexy here and now the big thing is …Galaxy Note…this phone reminds me of my neighbors KP&TC fred Flintstones mobile phone:)
Does size matter???? no! as long as its a mobile phone.
I fell more and more in love with this gadget…and when M-PESA was introduced by Susie Lonie and Nick Hughes in Kenya, I was completely, deeply, hopelessly in love… thats the love that built M-PESA…
Whats the point ? you ask… the point is this is the easiest way to deliver the financial inclusion dream… Kenya has struck oil, Konza city is on track…..
I see the mobile phone playing a very huge role in our economy in the coming decades… The mobile phone through M-PESA has put Kenya on a good Map.. we are normally known for hunger and starvation, biggest slum in Kenya, corruption… Look at us now !! We have won awards…we have empowered our people..we are the Mecca of Mobile Money… We dont just have elephants and Zebras….we have M-PESA!
Everyday they ask… how come the others are not as successful as M-PESA ? The world Unbanked need M-PESA replica but how do we plan to achieve this especially in West Africa. Dont tell me that its different… its not .. there might be slight differences but the road is the same… all we need to do in West Africa is take time to learn… Kenya is willing to teach you…are you ready to listen? Are you ready to go through Agency Structure building? Route to Market? Paygw configuration ?
Go to Iceni Mobile…the makers of M-PESA. Talk to Susie Lonie.. the perfect Mobile Money Project Manager… J Barasa on how the agency shops should be branded and trained…and Catherine is waiting to take you through Agency structuring, recruitment and Management…… till then …we might have to continue singing M-PESA ,…M-PESA…….
its my opinion:)
I am still so proud of the team that I worked with on M-PESA, sadly nobody mentions them thats why I keep honouring them …Susie Lonie..the perfect mobile money project Manager, Lesley Ann Vaughan, Tim Murdoch, Andrew Measures, Chris bowley, Steve woolfries..and Papa M-PESA Nick Hughes. Things were so structured and Kenya offered them the right atmosphere …Safaricom supported us during this time.
From way back in 2005 when I visited a pilot Agent in Thika Town a few Kilometers from Nairobi City, I instantly knew the power of that person. The Agent. When Faulu clients on M-PESA pilot back then recieved their loans on their mobile phones, the only place they could cash it out was at Superiorfones Thika.. Virtual Mobiles next door were not a passionate as Superiorfone. A lot has happened since those Thika days. Agency business changed from begging business people to become agents to the Business people begging us to become agents. Now allow me to jump to the state we are today in Kenya.
An agent who started with 100, 0000 Kenya Shillings in 2007 probably has made a few more shillings from commissions. Safaricom is no longer advertising “Tuma pesa kwa simu” they are now having a whole lot of Utility payments and merchant payments. All these payments point to one person “the Agent”. A lot of conferences have been done, A lot of grants have been issued, I have not heard any that targets the agents. Agents are currently the sole suppliers of electronic value in the whole of Kenya. I still call them “My Agents”. My M-PESA Agents face animosity from the business they serve. It takes ages to unlock their passwords, It takes ages to relocate their tills from one point to another, Nobody bothers to know why they dont have float..even the same safaricom that has burdened them with a whole lot of liquidity requirements. Safaricom is just happy to advertise “lipa karo na M-PESA” ” pay for goods with M-PESA” Pay for movie tickets with M-PESA. Safaricom, your business has grown… stop and ask yourselves where this M-PESA you are telling people to pay Kenya Airways, Kenya Power, Nairobi Water, School fees, Insurance etc is going to come from.. Is it the same agent who was walking a tight rope trying to supply electronic value to your 2million M-PESA customers that is going to walk tighter to supply 15 million with electronic value to enable your services to be used. I am not impressed by Safaricom.. because instead of looking at areas or partnerships that can help fund the electronic value for Agents and thus move their business further…they threaten them with closure, Never answer their calls, they are a desperate lot now. having to move around the same 100,000 Shillings by running from shop to super agent and losing all commission on the way!
Safaricom lets look at the reason why, the solutions are many..but I dont think it is right to threaten agents, close their shops. Instead, lets look for ways to manage liquidity and get Agents funded.
Agents are the only reason M-PESA is successful. Never forget that. Be Kind to them
I am and will always be an evangelist for financial Inclusion through creation of sustainable Agency Networks
I am continuously trying to understand the purpose of things and in my quest I try to imagine being the other person. I am still trying to comprehend how the hyped Mobile Money is going to work out in Nigeria.
There are a few questions in my mind everyday.
- I struggle to remember the numerous USSD and SMS shortcodes
- I have not seen any agent outlets near where I live
- None of the applications is translated to Hausa/Yoruba or Igbo ( the three main languages)
- I have not seen or been part of a Below the Line Activation
After years of courting Central Bank Of Nigeria,, the bride finally got a nod.. and what a mad rush…
The whistle had been blown and the race begun in all directions.
Here we are today and I have not seen a single Agent where I live.. not that I live in the middle of nowhere… But, I have seen so much branding you would think you have reached Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi… Any one aspiring to roll out Mobile Money Transfer must visit Tom Mboya Street… This is a street where you can do any amount of Cash In, Cash out, registration is water under the bridge..done in less than 1 minute as long as you have the documentation.. and M-PESA is accepted here. In Tom Mboya especially you can shop for anything using M-PESA. When can I hope to see this in Nigeria? Too much money is spent for media coverage.. before you go to the media my dear licensees please think about the Agency drama that awaits you.. This is not Kenya where Agents specialise in one product ..either M-PESA, MOBIKASH, TANGAZA OR AIRTEL MONEY. Here the rule is One agent Serves all… You come with your product lets say ” U-MO” or e-tranzact or Ecobank mobile, Fortis Mobile Money… now the thing is all these products are either using Java, Ussd or Wap…. ehe like we say in Naija… which means if the agent is very clever..they will just buy a java enabled phone for the application that has only java access and then they can use USSD for the rest.. assuming this Agent is brighter than the Governor I saw last night on the apprentice…( cant sms or even log onto a laptop) So we rule out the java for my mother in Ekiti who apparently wants to be an agent but only knows how to make voice calls… what am I saying? Picture this.. An agent will have 16 applications on her phone( she can choose to have 16 phones each for every service). now in walks a customer asking for service 3 . .. for this drama refer to my earlier blog.. Allow me to proceed with the evalue reconciliation nightmare 🙂 do we really expect one agent to have over 16 wallets and manage them efficiently? just asking:) then comes liquidity management.. you can argue that they are able to manage scratch cards…but remember an Airtel card is clearly Red, Glo Dark Green you cant even confuse with Etisalat Green..
Now lets reconcile 16 electronic value accounts at the close of every day… how much commission are you giving me? where is the insurance for the cash in my shop? Where is the free customer care line? and the Agent in Kaduna will say let me focus on my egg selling business.. We need to think of ways to push this product in a workable way..Nigeria is big and waiting lets think out of the box… there are so many business men and women waiting for opportunities to invest in this huge business..lets think about them…. and the thinking continues…………… There is a light somewhere… i see it do you?