MoMo Discussion- MTN CEO Woos Professional Bodies in Ghana

MTN Ghana has taken the discussion on Mobile Money (MoMo) to the door steps of professional bodies in the country. The move, according to the leading network provider, is aimed at assisting these groups to understand the digital world, how mobile financial services could help unlock opportunities in digital space and the benefits it holds out to corporate entities, organisations and all sectors within the Ghanaian economy.

Speaking during an encounter with one of the leading professional bodies, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana (CIMG) on the theme Mobile Financial Services, Inclusiveness, Trends and Opportunities, the Chief Executive Officer of the MTN Ghana, Mr. Ebenezer Twum Asante, stressed the need for professional marketers to take a critical look at the evolving pattern of technology on the continent and Ghana as a whole and make it their business to accustom themselves with the various drivers of digital inclusion.

He said although Africa digital penetration according statistics is currently hovering at the low end of the scale at 28.6 percent in 2015 against global average of 46.9 percent, digital innovations continues to transform the economic business and social landscape in Africa, affecting industries, sectors and businesses.

The CEO advised members of CIMG to take advantage of the overwhelming nature of the world digital entertainment space where videos, music and games are streamed and downloaded at real time and noted that these areas are and will be the main drivers of digital campaigns.

Mr. Asante debunked the traditional perception that ICT kills and steals jobs and intimated that it rather opens up the entire ecosystem irrespective of the industry for more sustainable jobs to be created.

Recounting the genesis of mobile money operations in Ghana, the Mr. Asante admitted the difficulty industry players have to go through, but because of the evolving nature of the digital space their efforts paid off.

“When mobile money started in Ghana, it was a very painful, extremely painful process. For the first two years, we were counting less than five to ten thousand customers, another two years later the number increased and today …...MTN has more branches in terms of agents’ points than all the banks in the country put together. And out of the 18 million that we have about 4.8 million are Mobile Money users. So it’s a space that is changing and changing rapidly.”

Going forward, CEO Asante revealed that MTN Ghana, through its yet to be introduced mobile money app, would be launching more insurance packages to Ghanaians.
Source: Biztechafrica

Mobile Money Businesses Will Not Morph Into Banks: Quist

Lucy Quist, Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, and reigning Telecom CEO of the year, has called for more collaboration between financial institutions and mobile telecom operators to create prosperity for Ghanaians and everyone within the Mobile Money ecosystem.

Addressing delegates at the 20th National Banking Conference at the Accra International Conference Center on the theme “The Emerging Mobile Money Business in Ghana – the role of telecom companies’, Mrs. Quist indicated that the Mobile Money business has come to stay and financial institutions must embrace and leverage the platform, through strategic partnerships, to ensure more Ghanaians are financially included.

She said “The Mobile Money platform provides a unique opportunity for collaboration between financial institutions and operators in the country to create and perpetuate prosperity for everyone in the ecosystem. For instance, for customers, the platform provides convenience, value added services and innovative lifestyle solutions that meet their needs now and in the future.

For agents operating the service, it is a source of employment and livelihood for themselves and their families and for financial institutions, the platform is a major mobiliser of deposits”.

Employment and financial inclusion
She continued: “The Mobile Money platform provides employment to thousands of Ghanaians. According to the latest report released by the Bank of Ghana, there are currently more than 108,000 registered agents across the country. For many of these agents, this platform is their main source of income and for others, it is a second stream of income. With more collaboration, this platform has the potential to contribute significantly to job creation, livelihood support and empowerment”.

She threw more light on the ability of the platform to promote financial inclusion and prosperity for all.  Lucy Quist said “Mobile Money serves as a conduit for promoting financial inclusion by bringing millions of Ghanaians who are currently excluded into the formal banking system. Once in the banking system, they have access to financial products and services that support their enterprises and livelihoods – creating prosperity for all within the ecosystem. This is a win-win situation.”

The World Bank pegs the percentage of unbanked Ghanaians at some 70% of the total population. Yet Mobile penetration stands at around 132% across all telecom operators.

“The millions of Ghanaians outside the formal banking system need some form of financial mediation – they need to be financially included and they will naturally find a way to access financial services. With almost every Ghanaian who needs a phone owning one, Mobile Money provides that bridge that connects them to the formal banking system.”

Competitors or Partners?
In August 2016, PwC released the 2016 Banking Survey on the theme: “How to win in an era of mobile money,” which indicates that banks consider mobile money operators as partners due their ability to mobilise deposit through the use of technology, but at the same time increasingly worried that mobile money operators will metamorphose into banks or develop to the point where they can operate independently of banks.

Touching on the issue, Quist said “Our focus is on providing the network infrastructure and distributive system that serves as a catalysts for innovation, reach and scalability not financial modelling. When we launched Airtel Money in 2010, it was in collaboration with partner banks. All other operators did same. The mobile money platform, by its architecture and operating model, was not designed to operate outside the financial system. It was built to work effectively with banks and other financial institutions to provide limitless possibilities and drive sustained value for the entire ecosystem.

Mobile Money businesses will not morph into banks. What is likely to happen is more collaboration to offer consummate solutions to customers who stand to benefit the most. A few years ago, you can only send and receive money through the Mobile Money platform, now there are unlimited services – bill payments, transfer of funds between mobile wallets and bank accounts, purchase of T-bills etc. The possibilities will grow in the years ahead.”

The total volume of mobile money transactions grew from 110 million between January to June last year 2015 to 220 million for the same period this year. Registered customers for the service has seen more than 820% growth from 2010 when there were only a little over 2 million customers to the current figure of Circa 16 million with more than half being active customers

“The growth in customer numbers as well as the volume and value of transaction over the period is a clear indication that Mobile Money is here to stay. These figures are expected to double and some will triple over the next couple of years as more people embrace the service and become included,” Mrs. Quist concluded.
Source: Biztechafrica

GHC 70,00 up for grabs in 5th Annual Tigo Digital Changemakers award

Tigo Ghana, in partnership with International NGO, Reach for Change, has launched its annual competition, the Tigo Digital Changemakers Award. The competition aims at identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs with digital tools and technology to improve the lives of children across the country. For 2016, Tigo is looking for innovations that focus on education, broadening digital inclusion and support business entrepreneurship.

The two winning entries will each receive a cash prize of up to GH¢ 70,000 and access to Reach for Change’s Incubator programmme, which includes business training, access to a global network of other social entrepreneurs and many more. The application period for the competition is now officially open and will close on October 25, 2016.

In a live Twitter launch for the campaign, the Corporate Affairs Director for Tigo, Gifty Bingley said, “We have a new focus for the Tigo Digital Changemakers Award this year and our team is really looking forward to supporting digital innovations that will improve education, digital inclusion or business entrepreneurship in Ghana.”

Tigo and Reach for Change will support educational innovations that use digital tools and technology to improve education in primary, secondary and tertiary education for children, caregivers and communities; digital inclusion innovations that aim to provide individuals and communities with access to information and communication technologies that are lacking opportunities to participate in digital communications; and business entrepreneurship innovations that provide support and information to entrepreneurs who are starting, maintaining or seeking to boost their small to medium sized businesses.

Amma Lartey, Regional Director, Reach For Change Africa explained, “We are looking for the best innovative digital ideas that can provide genuine solutions to problems facing children and society, while at the same time promoting connectivity and access to communications, particularly in deprived communities. We believe social entrepreneurship has the power to drive change in our communities.”

This is the fifth year that Tigo and Reach for Change are running the competition in search for entrepreneurs. Over the years Tigo has supported 16 social/digital entrepreneurs. And together with Reach for Change, the social entrepreneurs have benefitted from funding, coaching, mentorship and more to create impressive impact in Ghana.

One example of a social entrepreneur being supported by the programme is Josephine Marie Godwyll who is working in the field of education and digital inclusion through her social enterprise, Young at Heart GH. Josephine was selected as a winner of the 2015 Tigo Digital Changemakers Award and has been supported to scale up her organization through trainings and coaching provided in Reach for Change’s Incubator programme. She provides digital education to children in rural Ghana, teaching them basic computer skills, setting up ICT learning hubs and coordinating distance learning courses to help students understand digital technologies.

“Already this year, Josephine has impacted over 700 children through her digital innovation and her numbers continue to grow,” Bingley said. “Her work is not just giving children access to ICT technology, but empowering them to become ICT leaders of the future.”

Josephine is just one example of the type of the talented digital innovators that Tigo is seeking to support through this year’s award.

All those interested in applying or finding out more about the completion are encouraged to visit www.tigo.com.gh/digitalchangemakers. The application period will run from the 23rd of September to the 25th of October 2016 . Social entrepreneurs with digital innovations that improve education, address digital inclusion or advance business entrepreneurship are encouraged to apply. The winner will receive up to GH¢ 70,000 and access to business expertise and mentorship from senior management of Tigo staff and Reach for Change advisors.

Women Must Claim Their Place in ICT Sector - Airtel MD

The Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, and reigning Telecom CEO of the Year, Lucy Quist, joined leading African women in technology at the African Summit on Women and Girls in Technology to discuss and share solutions that will foster policy directions on broadband internet access, women empowerment, and sustainable development.

The conference, organized by the Alliance for Affordable Internet, focused on practical solutions and policies that will further the interest of African women and girls.

Sharing her thoughts on bridging the gender gap in the Technology industry, Lucy Quist, a passionate advocate for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) encouraged participants to be bold and active participants in the industry. She said, “Instead of waiting to be given the opportunity to be relevant, women need to assert and claim their place in the Tech industry by equipping themselves with knowledge about the industry, being exceptionally great at what they do and even greater when it comes to soft skills such as communications and human relations.”

Lucy Quist also touched on society’s role in supporting more women in Tech. She said “For a long time, we (society) have given the tech industry an image women do not wish to be part of. Technology has been given a masculine face and attitude. First everyone expects males to be dominant in this field, then when a woman turns up, she is still expected to be masculine.”

She added, “But this is changing, although not as fast as we want it to be. We need to support, empower and encourage more women and girls into the field. I have seen and met with some of the amazing young women in Tech and I am very confident the great work they are doing will inspire even more young women and girls into the field. When I see young people like you who are passionate about making a difference, about going the extra mile, I am confident that this continent of ours will be a major force, within the Technology industry in the future”.

The participants at the event, who came from different parts of the continent, were mostly women who were leading technology initiatives or working in tech companies.

Lucy Quist also interacted and mentored some of the participants who shared their experiences and challenges working in the industry.

Lucy Quist has been recognized as one of Ghana’s leading business executives and is also a trail blazer in the technology industry. She is a STEM ambassador who is championing the Evolve with STEM initiative, a CSR project by Airtel Ghana, to inspire belief and transform mindsets of young people towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Through this initiative, more than 2,000 school children have been impacted across 4 regions in the country.
The African Summit on Women and Girls in Technology provides a platform for participants to gain a clear understanding of key technology policy issues that affect African women’s empowerment and rights. In addition, the platform provides specific action steps to shape the policy, practice, and investments in the technology industry on the continent.
Source: Biztechafrica