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IFC, Mastercard Foundation Extend Financial Inclusion for Millions in Africa

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IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, together with the Mastercard Foundation, released a new report documenting the transformation underway in financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The findings are based on lessons learned from joint projects that have resulted in access to new digital financial services for more than seven million users on the continent over the past six years.

Digital Access: The Future of Financial Inclusion highlights the phenomenal success of digital financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa and outlines the challenges still to be tackled to reach universal financial access.

It captures the experience and knowledge gained by IFC and the Mastercard Foundation in supporting the growth of digital finance in Africa under the joint Partnership for Financial Inclusion since 2012.

Working together with 14 microfinance institutions, banks, mobile network operators, and payments service providers across the continent, the joint initiative has resulted in 7.2 million new digital financial services users (a 250 percent increase from the baseline), 45,000 new banking agents, and $300 million in monthly transactions.

“Financial inclusion is one of Africa’s great success stories of this decade. Mobile money solutions and agent banking now offer affordable, instant, and reliable transactions, savings, credit, and even insurance opportunities in rural villages and urban neighborhoods where no bank had ever established a branch,” noted IFC’s Chief Executive Officer Philippe Le Houerou and Mastercard Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Reeta Roy in a joint foreword to the new report.

Financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased dramatically over the past decade, from 23 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2017, according to recently released data from the World Bank Findex survey. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where the share of adults with a mobile money account exceeds 10 percent.

“The Partnership for Financial Inclusion has been an important actor in helping to drive financial inclusion in Africa,” said Ruth Dueck-Mbeba, Senior Program Manager at the Mastercard Foundation.

“We’re proud of the work that our partner, IFC, has led over the past six years. It has enabled millions of people to benefit from access to financial services. More than that, the knowledge that we’ve gained will lead to millions more people improving their lives and their communities by being able to join the formal financial services sector.”

There is an emerging body of evidence on the impact that digital financial inclusion can have on inclusive economic growth and development. A study in the report shows that smallholder cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire who saved regularly were better able to feed their families than those who did not save, irrespective of the farmers’ annual income.

The same study also revealed that many smallholder cocoa farmers felt ‘socially excluded’ by traditional banks but were generally accepting of agent banking and digital services.

Mamie Kalonda, Chief Executive Officer of FINCA in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the client institutions of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, said, “In the DRC, I expect digital financial services will grow even faster in the next five years. Almost all banks are going mobile.” She added,

“It is important to reach the rural areas, because that is where people are poor.”

In the DRC, the use of mobile money services had reached 16 percent in 2017, helping to push the overall financial inclusion rate from 3.7 percent to 26 percent in the same period.

Riadh Naouar, Head of IFC’s Financial Institutions Group Advisory in Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “Looking ahead, we can see some interesting trends for the future. While East Africa has long been the star performer in terms of the evolution of digital financial services, West Africa is the new growth market. Not only in terms of reach, but also for innovation.”

“There is a need in the broader industry across the continent to shift to the next generation of digital products,” he added. “A broader, more multi-faceted market is asking for more sophisticated and relevant products beyond person-to-person payments.

There are evident opportunities to develop digital banking, savings and credit products, as well as the digitization of value chain financing and merchant payments.”

The report noted some of the challenges that will have to be addressed to continue progress in financial inclusion.

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E-Financial

eTranzact Fires Obi as CEO, Others over Alleged N11Bn Fraud

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eTranzact International Plc has confirmed that Mr. Valentine Obi, managing director and some of its other directors will step down, after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) asked the senior management of the payment processor company  to resign.

 

The action is coming in the wake of alleged fraud to the tune of ₦11billion perpetrated on its platform, by Michael Obasuyi, CEO of Platinum Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Limited on the platform.

Mr. Valentine Obi

In a letter signed by the company’s secretary, eTranzact International, said that Mr. Obi will step down as the company managing director, while Mr. Niyi Toluwalope will be taking over as the managing director in an acting capacity.

 

Until this new appointment, Toluwalope was the Chief Financial officer of the company, a position he has held since 2011.

 

Others affected by the management change include Executive Directors; Sullivan Akala, Ike Eze and Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Richard Omoniyi, Head of Operations, Mr. Kehinde Segun.

 

eTranzact International however denied reports that PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC, and Earnest & Young have been recruited to review the accounts of the company.

 

eTranzact, claimed that the move for the change in the management of the firm is strictly a decision by the board.

 

“We want to categorically state that there was no fraud in eTranzact International Plc, however, a merchant used the company’s interface with a bank to perpetrate fraud,” the press release made available to Techpoint.ng reads in part

 

The firm also affirms that neither of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) nor Ernst and Young is reviewing the books of the company. eTranzacts claims PwC handles various technology-related assignments from time to time for the company, none of which has to do with account reviewing.

 

E-Tranzact international was incorporated as a Private Limited Liability Company on the 7th of May 2003. It became a public limited liability company on the 7th of August 2009 and was quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

 

Its shares are currently trading flat on the Nigerian Stock Exchange at ₦4.55 with its one year return down by 7.14%.

 

Full Text of Release

 

eTranzact International PLC, Africa’s premier e-payments solution provider has announced that it will be making significant changes to the Company’s management team.

 Niyi Toluwalope

Mr. Valentine Obi, Managing Director of the Company will be stepping down and Mr. Niyi Toluwalope will be taking over as the Managing Director in acting capacity. Until his appointment, Mr. Niyi Toluwalope was the Chief Financial Officer, a position he has held since 2011. Other executive positions affected by the management changes are: Executive Directors -Mr. Sullivan Akala and Mr. Ike Eze; Chief Technology Officer – Mr. Richard Omoniyi and Head of Operations – Mr. Kehinde Segun.

 

eTranzact is aware of recent Business Day publications about these management changes and wishes to announce that the changes are strictly eTranzact Board’s decision, and would like to advise all its stakeholders that it is working closely with the regulators, and all other relevant Stakeholders to resolve any issue related to or arising from the management changes.

 

In addition, we want to categorically state that there was no fraud in eTranzact International Plc, however a merchant used the company’s interface with a bank to perpetrate fraud. The eTranzact executives resigned honorably because they have the responsibility for governance in the company. Also, there is no truth about PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) or Ernst & Young reviewing the Accounts of the Company. eTranzact retains PwC from time to time for various technology related assignments and none has to do with reviewing the Company’s Accounts.

 

The ISO certifcations are a testament to eTranzact’s focus in adopting and implementing global and best practices to ensure effectiveness, efficiency, confidentiality and integrity in its day to day operations. This marks the beginning of a new journey for the company.”

 

 

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UBA to Reward Loyal Customers in ‘Refer-a-Friend’ Campaign

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Pan-African Financial Services Institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc will be rewarding its loyal customers who refer friends and family to the bank in its new diaspora campaign.

 

The campaign is designed to reward customers of the bank who refer their Diaspora friends/relatives to open a UBA account.

 

Specifically, this campaign will last for three months and the bank will be rewarding any customer who refers other customers with the reward of N5,000 for every successfully opened new and funded account.

 

For instance, new and existing customers who refer friends and relatives in the Diaspora to open new UBA accounts will be eligible to grab the reward for as many times as the number of people they refer.

 

According to the campaign managers, the referrer who must have an account with UBA, will have his/her account number inputted in the provided field by the referred. The account number is expected to serve as a reference code for paying the reward, and once the new Diaspora account is funded with a minimum of $100,  $100, £100, €100 or N50,000, for a one-month period, the reward sum of N5,000 will be automatically credited into the Referrer’s account.

 

They further explained that the campaign which kicks-off on May 22, 2018, involves no raffle draws, customers just refer, and redeem their cash prizes after successful funding of the new account.

 

 

 

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Court Orders Zenith Bank to Pay Customer N11m as Damages

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An Anambra State High Court sitting in Onitsha has ordered Zenith Bank PLC to pay the total sum of eleven million naira to Mr. Iwuchuckwu Okeke of Okeke P.C Stores as damages for detaining his five hundred and fifty thousand naira for ten days and also for reputation and business damages.

 

In its judgement, the court presided by Justice M.N.O Okonkwo ordered the bank to pay a sum of one million naira to the Plaintiff as damages for detaining his five hundred and fifty thousand naira for ten days and the sum of ten million naira as reputation and business damages.

 

According to Plaintiff who deals with the products of the Nigerian Bottling Company, on 1st March 2017, he paid the sum of five hundred and fifty thousand naira to the account of the Nigerian Bottling Company Limited through the defendant and the electronic transaction receipt evidencing the payment was issued to him but the bank failed to effect the transaction timeously blaming the failure on poor network and all attempts by him in approaching the bank to effect the transaction failed.

 

He thereafter wrote the bank through his lawyer and requested that the money be remitted and that also sum of five million naira should be paid to him as compensation to his loss but the bank failed to act accordingly and he had no option than to seek for justice at the court of law in order to save his business as he was out of stock and had no money to order for new products from the Nigerian Bottling Company.

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