USAID/Nigeria’s MARKETS II program is now working with mobile money operator eTranzact and their innovative mobile money service PocketMoni along with the largest microfinance bank in Nigeria, LAPO, to provide support to offer mobile financial services to the staff and clients of LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited.
With the significant penetration of mobile phone coverage in Nigeria and the rise of mobile money platforms such as PocketMoni, LAPO realized the potential to make use of this new technology to increase outreach and improve efficiency. Building on the previous experience of microfinance institutions which have made use of mobile money platforms in other countries, LAPO and eTranzact will work together to pilot test and, if successful, rollout the services to more than 700,000 LAPO customers and clients. eTranzact’s PocketMoni received it’s license from the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2011 and has over 400,000 registered users and more than 2,600 agents across the country.
The new partnership will start with the payroll of LAPO staff as well as providing services to clients in select branches in Abuja and Lagos. If successful during the pilot phase, the bank will expand the services to cover more clients including farmers in the areas served by MARKETS II. With technical assistance and guidance from USAID/Nigeria’s MARKETS II program, the rollout of mobile money and mobile financial services will carefully build on mobile money-enabled payroll servicing, real use cases, and building an active agent network in the areas close to LAPO staff and client locations.
For MARKETS II, this pilot and rollout of mobile financial services support one of the objectives of the project which is to assist financial institution partners in developing financial products and services to reach targeted clients and value chains. MARKETS II plans to support this and other mobile financial service solutions during the coming years with LAPO, eTranzact and other interested partners across rural parts of Nigeria.
I plan to follow up on this unique partnership and the uses of mobile money and mobile financial services that are supported by USAID/Nigeria’s MARKETS II program as well as those offered by other innovative service providers in Nigeria and will post periodic updates.