MTN, Ecobank part­ner on Africa’s fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - BUSINESS - By Tayo Oredola

IN the bid to in­crease the level of fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion across the con­ti­nent, MTN and Ecobank have signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MOU) to put to­gether ex­per­tise and ad­vo­cate more pa­tron­age of dig­i­talised fi­nan­cial ser­vices. Both multi­na­tion­als ad­mit­ted they have an enor­mous area of col­lab­o­ra­tions with their pres­ence across the con­ti­nent, which can aid the ex­pan­sion drive for fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion with the best prod­ucts.

At the sign­ing of the MOU in La­gos, the Group Pres­i­dent and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, MTN Group, Rob Shuter, said both or­gan­i­sa­tions can ac­cel­er­ate the ef­forts to bring fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion to the mar­ket, which would en­able the man on the street to enjo y bet­ter fi­nan­cial ser­vices with their mo­bile op­er­a­tor. He said Ecobank is a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of many of Africa’s mar­ket where MTN op­er­ates, hence they share sim­i­lar ob­jec­tive port­fo­lio to work to­gether on mo­bile con­nec­tion ser­vices, which would al­low for safe and easy mo­bile busi­nesses across board, as well as sim­ple trans­ac­tional ser­vices for cus­tomers.

Also the Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Ecobank Transna­tional Inc., Ade Ayeyemi, stated that both com­pa­nies are tr ying to trans­late the as­sets (mo­bile phones) in the hands of cus­tomers to points of presents, where they can ac­cess fi­nan­cial ser­vices, in­stead of al­ways go­ing to­banks.

“Al­most ev­ery Nige­rian and African to­day has a mo­bile phone,” he said.

Ayeyemi ex­plained that with MTN pro­vid­ing ac­cess to data and In­ter­net ser­vices, which is avail­able on the av­er­age cus­tomer’s de­vice and the fact that they can com­mu­ni­cate with their phones, “we would now utilise their phones to de­liver avoid­able mon­e­tary ser­vices across board.”

The Ecobank boss re­marked that the best way to solve the prob­lem of fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion is by lev­er­ag­ing on ex­per­tise and the best a vail­able tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide profitable so­lu­tions. Re­mit­tance to Africa he said is one of the most ex­pen­sive and its due to the way peo­ple want to con­tinue to use phys­i­cal cash, he how­ever was op­ti­mistic that with such a plat­form, trans­porta­tion of cash would be safe.

The MOU, which has no time bound, ac­cord­ing to MTN, is a ground break­ing move to reach over a bil­lion Africans, where their phones would be con­verted to bank branches to ac­cess fi­nan­cial so­lu­tions.

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