The effort of Nigeria to reduce cash in circulation, provide services to the unbanked, and transition its economy to electronic and mobile transactions, is proceeding slowly, endangering the Central Bank of Nigeria's goal of moving 70 percent of transactions away from cash by 2020.
The Business Daily Online is reporting that only a small number of the 16 mobile money operators that have received licenses from the CBN are currently providing any services. Lack of financial resources and issues with technology are the main reasons the licensees are still offline, the report said.
That's not to say some progress isn't being made; electronic transactions are increasing. However, most electronic transactions are through Nigeria's limited number of ATMs and not through mobile phones. In 2011, electronic transaction volume was NGN1.67 trillion ($10.6 billion), up 56 percent from the previous year. But ATMs accounted for NGN1.56 ($9.8 billion) of that total. Only NGN21 billion ($133 million) in mobile payments occurred, the article said.
Nigeria has a substantial number of consumers with no access to basic financial services, but nearly 60 percent of Nigerians, or 101.8 million people, have mobile phones, the report said.
For more stories like this, visit the Mobile Banking research center.