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Submitted by Christian Osakwe on
Permit me to air my views on this important and interesting subject matter. I really do not fancy replicating the SAFARICOM Model on any other economy. Safaricom as some of us know has roughly about 70% stake of the Kenya mobile telecoms market. So, it was easier for Kenyans to adopt MPESA as a self-service financial channel. More so, statistics equally pointed out before the commencement of MPESA, that about 65% of the adult population in Kenya did not have access to formal bank accounts. A lot of factors played out to the success of MPESA when it was launched in March, 2007. That MPESA is a success story in the world as an innovative brand cannot be under-emphasized but whether this MPESA model can be replicated in another developing country is quite difficult to say. Technology adoption rate differs across board. Methinks, what is fundamentally important is to look at the peculiarities of countries and come up with mobile money ecosystem that suits well to these countries. The Nigerian mobile ecosystem as we have been made to believe by the county's apex bank-CBN would mainly be in the purview of traditional banking institutions and other independent mobile money platform providers -MMOs. The Telcos are partners in progress. So if the World Bank and other international organisations are sincere in financial cum digital inclusion,there is a need to do an extensive data analysis of these countries. MPESA succeeded in Kenya due to the peculiarity of the Kenyan economy and this does not guarantee that the MPESA model would thrive elsewhere. More so, for mobile money to really thrive, we must not fail to look at the fee-based structure. Most times, those in the bottom of the pyramid feel the pain the most because a large chunk of their incomes are paid as fees for their supposedly small ticket transactions. This in a is antithetical to combating poverty. I equally believe the onus is also on most governments to invest in infrastructures.Technology cannot thrive in any domain without the necessary infrastructures in place. The rural population of most third world countries are worse off because they lack basic social amenities. In a way, they have been cut off from this knowledge based economy. Mobile money could indeed make a difference amongst the vast population of third world economies if there is a fair regulation in place coupled with some of the factors I have highlighted. Despite the fact that the Nigerian market is a huge marketing opportunities, so many leakages in the system has inhibited real economic growth. I hope the success of MPESA can really lead to more forward thinking on mobile money ecosystem and ultimately lead to both financial and digital inclusion across all segments of developing economies. Chris Osakwe Master's Research Student CZU,Praha