Mobile money operators must take holistic approach – panel

By Tom Jackson, South Africa

Companies launching mobile money services were urged by panelists at AfricaCom in Cape Town to approach the market strategically and holistically if they are to be sustainable.

Joseck Mudiri, senior operations officer at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), said both services already in existence and those planning on launching needed to loom at their business plans and have a clear path for growth.

“In the case of those that are already operating, they have to step back and start the business planning process afresh. The moment you begin to look at it from a strategic perspective, you find out whether you are doing it for stickiness or profit,” Mudiri said.

“For the new ones that want to implement they also need to go through this process.”

Mudiri said it was important that mobile money was handled at the highest level of a company, and that funds are committed, as there were great opportunities in the market.

“If you look at it from a strategic perspective, at the end of the day you can invest sufficiently in this business and make sure that the majority of the population is financially included,” he said. “As long as you look at it holistically then it will be fine. It’s an issue of the whole organisation looking at the business and how it impacts them. It is important first of all to understand what the customer wants.”

Failure to do this, he said, could result in the delivery of a product that the channel will not carry.

“So understanding what your customer needs and looking at the delivery methods are very critical,” he said.

Andre De Jager, general manager of product solutions of MTC Namibia, agreed, saying companies had to have a strategic route.

“You have to make a conscious decision. What do you want to achieve, what are your goals and how do you do it?” he said. “People see it as a me-too service. But there has to be a strategy. How does it fit with the rest of the family?”

 

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