I warmly welcome you to this edition of your magazine. In this edition, we attempt to expand the narratives on the Cashless Society at a time when the buzz words in the digital ecosphere: ‘financial inclusion’, ‘unbanked’, ‘under-banked’, ‘mobile money’, ‘mobile banking’, ‘online banking’ and ‘payment cards’, among other phrases, are dominating the fintech community. This is particularly important for us, because, in Africa, only about 25 per cent participates in the formal banking sector. Statistics show that Africa has 230 million unbanked households, and most of the banks find it difficult to meet the needs of this category of Africans, because of the high economic cost of servicing their demands.
This report explores how digitizing payments, government transfers, and remittances can contribute to financial inclusion, broad-based economic growth, and women’s empowerment. This has become particularly relevant going by the statistics showing that in developing countries, 2.5 billion people are ‘unbanked’ and have to rely on cash or informal financial services which are typically unsafe, inconvenient and expensive. Yet, the traditional “brick and mortar” banking infrastructure are struggling to make the business model work to serve low-income customers, particularly in rural areas.
Curiously, however, over one billion of the people in developing countries have access to a mobile phone, which can provide the basis for extending the reach of financial services such as payments, transfers, insurance, savings, and credit. What are the physical and institutional supports required for building up support base for cashless society in order to provide convenient, safe and affordable financial services to the under-served, thereby increasing financial inclusion? We have adopted close focus on institutional framework, and government’s intervention, as well as the enabling regulatory environments. Such details and more you will read in the Big Issue: Africa Beyond Cash.
Also packaged for your reading pleasure in Telecom and IT Money are details of the Memorandum of Understanding inked by the consortium building the new undersea cable named “Africa-1”; the merger of the fixed and mobile assets in Cote d’Ivoire; the planned acquisition of broadband infraco by South Africa Vodafone as well as the reaction of the Liberian President to the acquisition of Novafone by LIBTELCO.
In Cashless World, you have details of how Vodacom dropped M-Pesa in South Africa; why MTN Ghana is paying interest on Mobile Money Wallet savings and the announcement by SimbaPay on the single money transfer of up to $45, 000 to Africa. Detail of the incredible performance of e-commerce in the Smartphones platform in Q1 is only reported in this section. What has Jongla launched to deepen messaging service in the mobile enclave in Africa? Again, what is MTN doing with the trials of LTE-U in 1800MHz, 5GHz bands? Find details in Wireless World.
Global Scope contains an array of interesting stories like how the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day was celebrated; the formation of LTE-Broadcast Alliance by leading mobile operators; the sliding ranking of European operators in the GSMAi ladder, the bold step undertaken by the EC with the 700MHz; and the events that marked the international ‘Girls in ICT Day’ globally.
Business Central is a robust analysis of VAS operators’ reaction to the framework prepared by the telecom regulator for the smooth alignment of the VAS sub-sector. Our News segment also contains key developments in the industry. We also have exciting industry development in Computer.Com. We bring you the latest narratives in the Digital Broadcasting section. How are the banks impacting businesses in Nigeria? In an encounter in Lagos, Emeka Okafor bares it all to Clifford Agugoesi in the Executive Forum. And we share an interesting perspective on the raging debate on the Facebook Free Basics and Bharti Airtel’s take on the Net Neutrality in Consumer Scope. In Discourse you read about the impact of multiple releases of frequency spectra to drive Broadband revolution in Nigeria. Our guest writer, Ashley Boag, brings a fresh insight into how ICT solution is being integrated into garbage management. See this in Online Scope. How is the telecom regulator in Nigeria prodding stakeholders for the harmonisation of taxes, in order to curb the menace of multiple taxes? Read details in Perspective. There are some interesting developments around the self-driving car ecosystem. Read all about it in Digital Cars.
Enjoy this package and come again at the next edition.
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