The major reason why Mobile Money is slow to kick start in Nigeria, is because the Nigeria Central Bank has refused to allow the Telecommunication take full control of the sector.
1. The right model for Nigeria with a very large population is the TELECOMMUNICATION LED, not the BANK-LED model. Mpsea, Safaricom is a perfect example of this model.
2. The non-bank operators didn’t have scale so all we had were islands of services that didn’t talk to each other.
Consumers don’t like to get locked up. The operators didn’t have the retail network that Telcos in other countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania, have.
3. Banks had zero incentives to run MM. Why go through the stress when they already have customers? MM is about financial inclusion while banking in Nigeria is about deposit mobilization from those who have money. Only a few banks even understand the concept of retail banking. Throwing bodies after deposit isn’t retail banking.
4. Cost of an average transaction wasn’t a lot (N100 for deposit and cash out) but when compared with free transactions in the banking hall, it didn’t make sense to anyone. Look at it this way, why should the financially excluded and challenged pay more for transactions
5. CBN regulations allowed banks to do Tier 1 accounts which effectively put a stake into the heart of the matter.
Would Mobile Money have succeeded if we have used the Telco model?
Probably. The Telcos have scale, they have the network, they understand retail (even if they give very crappy services).