Nigeria: MasterCard launches e-payment for MSMEs

MastercardGlobal payment technology company, MasterCard, has introduced electronic payment system technology to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

The company described the e-payment system as Nigeria’s first MSME-focused acceptance development programme that would extend the security and convenience of e-payments to merchants and their customers who previously depended on cash to transact.

To begin the programme, MasterCard said it was partnering First Bank of Nigeria and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to roll out hundreds of mobile Point of Sale devices to retailers.

The retailers, according to the technology company, are fast moving consumer goods outlets, grocers and leading online stores, allowing them to process debit, prepaid and credit card transactions by using a smartphone connected to a secure card reader.

A statement by MasterCard quoted its Vice-President and Area Business Head, West Africa, Omokehinde Ojomuyide, as saying, “The MSMEs are an important sector in our economy, representing 95 per cent of registered businesses in Nigeria. However, nearly 98 per cent of all the MSME transactions are still made with cash.”

“Using innovative payment technology, this programme will help the MSMEs reduce the costs of cash, increase sales, grow their customer base and improve cash flow, while making it easier and safer for their customers to pay.”

The MPOS solution comprises a MPOS payments application and a physical card reader with a secure PIN pad for PIN entry that connects to the merchant’s smartphone using Bluetooth.

According to the statement, the MPOS application negates the need for merchants to access a fixed data or telephone line, and helps them to overcome connectivity challenges as the devices use a range of data connectivity options including EDGE, 2G, 3G, and 4G.

The MPOS technology, it stated, would also adhere to the ‘CHIP and PIN’ certifications mandated in Nigeria, meaning consumers could be assured that their transactions were safe and secure.

To further encourage the MSMEs to adopt electronic payments, MasterCard said it was working with the MPOS solution providers to introduce a range of value added services including loyalty programmes, air-time top up, person-to-person remittances, bill payments, inventory control and others.

It also said the services would enable merchants to grow their revenues and increase efficiencies.

“The rapid growth of smartphones in Nigeria provides a huge opportunity for innovation across all industries, especially in payments,” Ojomuyide said.

“This programme uses smart technology that transforms mobile devices into tools of commerce, and delivers services that will benefit all stakeholders in the payments ecosystem. It also supports the Central

Bank of Nigeria’s Cashless Nigeria policy, and will help this vital sector to connect more efficiently to the national and global economy,” she added.

Source: Balancingact-Africa

‘Facebook money transfer to benefit African users’

facebookDigital finance experts in Kenya say African users will increasingly benefit from the introduction of a money transfer service onto Facebook’s instant messaging platform.

Facebook said last week that users on its social media and networking platform will now be able to send money to each other using its “more convenient and secure” money transfer service which it will offer for free.

Frederick Abot, the Cooperative Bank of Kenya’s head of banking applications support, said the area of mobile money needed more players for users to enjoy more benefits.

“The more players jump into that space the better for customers. We hope to see more,” said Abot.

Another Kenyan digital finance expert, Jacqueline Jumah, who is manager for strategic operations for digital finance at Microsave Kenya said “the customer benefits at the end of the day”.

Other experts said the integration of mobile money and digital finance platforms with social media and instant messaging platforms was the next step in the revolution of digital finance and mobile money platforms, especially for the African region.

They said this was especially important for Africa’s growing digitally connected population and highlighted that the region’s low base in mobile penetration rate and smartphone usage provided scope for tapping into the area.

“People spend most of their time on instant messaging and social media platforms.

“Integrating banking and finance into that area will enhance usage and convenience which will give rise to adoption and further development,” said another expert.

Facebook explained users must link their Visa or MasterCard debit cards to their Facebook accounts in order to access the money transfer service.

Source: Balancingact-Africa

CommProve Wins Strategic African Networking Monitoring Contract

1A leader in end-to-end network management for actionable customer insights, has today announced its working with an African telecommunications regulator to monitor the Quality of Service (QoS) of multiple mobile network operators (MNOs) in country.

“Typically, a telecommunications regulator has no way of determining the actual customer experience, or monitoring if the customer experience is improving or degrading,” says Darren Harding, CommProve VP of Sales for MEA. “This makes it very difficult to identify the QoS the MNOs subscribers are actually getting. And this is where CommProve can support both the regulator and the MNOs.”

The African regulator has deployed CommProve’s monitoring solution, CommProve GSP at each of the operator sites. GSP feeds MNO network performance and customer experience information back to a centralised reporting system. This provides the telecommunications regulator with key performance indicators (KPIs) for every MNO, based on actual experience of every subscriber on the MNO, for the whole of the MNO network, 24 hours a day seven days a week. The insight is based on the actual calls or data sessions that the subscribers make, or try to make in the case of service failures.

Additionally, MNOs could benefit from being able to use the data that is pertinent to their network only, to fault find and improve their own network performance thereby improving the QoS they provide to their end user subscribers.

The regulator is planning to make the network performance information for specific locations publicly available on their website. Adds Harding: “This is a great way for MNOs to demonstrate improved QoS and to attract new customers.”

Source: African Herald Express

New ‘visa’ fee to Burundi irks Gisagara residents

visaBorder residents in Gisagara District have expressed concerns over a newly introduced fee for people travelling to Burundi, which they say has limited their movement to the neighbouring country.

This follows a decision last month by the Burundian local authorities to introduce a fee of FBU700 (about Rwf350) for anyone entering Burundi through porous borders.

A pre-existing arrangement between Gisagara and Bugaburo commune in Kirundo Province allowed border residents from either side to cross using national identifications.

However, those on the Rwandan side say they were surprised when they started being charged for every trip they made to Burundi, something they say has inhibited their movement.

The most affected are people who go to Burundi via the Akanyaru River, mainly at Rugasa and Rutagara docks.

“We at first thought there was a security issue in Burundi. Once one reaches the bank of the river on the Burundian side, they are requested to present their ID and the FBU700 charge. Then you are given a receipt,” said Alexis Ntagengwa, a resident of Mamba Sector, Gisagara District

This, he said, is affecting cross-border trade.

Joseph Nzaramyimana, a Rwandan from Kabumbwe Cell, Mamba Sector, and a member of Umutekano Kabumbwe, a cooperative operating canoes that help people cross the river, said the visa problem is limiting movement.

“Before, Rwandans from Gisagara were travelling to Burundi freely, upon presentation of a National ID. But now any Rwandan going to Burundi is requested to pay the FBU700 visa fee,” he said.

The Gisagara District mayor, Léandre Karekezi, said the affected people were mostly from Gishubi and Mamba sectors.

“We have talked to our counterparts in Burundi and they promised to scrap the fee because it is hindering movement of our people,” he said.

He added that one of the local leaders in Kirundo Province told him that the fee was introduced by a private association charged with developing communities around porous borders but the official told him that they had since ordered the association to scrap it.

The fee does not apply to people using the official border points, according to an official from the immigration directorate, at Akanyaru border post.

Source: New Times

South African sevens moves to Cape Town

rugbyCape Town will host the South African leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series for the next four years, the national rugby union announced Friday.

Western Cape Town George and Eastern Cape city Port Elizabeth were previous South African hosts of the two-day event.

The multi-sport Cape Town Stadium, built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will stage the event rather than the Newlands stadium home of Cape Town rugby.

Cape Town Stadium, among the most picturesque stadiums in the world with Table Mountain as its backdrop, can host 65,000 crowds.

“World Rugby wanted iconic destinations to showcase the new Olympic sport of rugby sevens,” explained South African Rugby Union chief executive Jurie Roux.

“A world-class stadium in a world-class city in the shadow of a world heritage site in Table Mountain provides exactly that.

“Cape Town is a sport-mad city, their crowds frequently top the South African attendance charts, and it is a rugby city.”

George hosted the sevens event nine times and Port Elizabeth four times and from December it moves to a stadium desperate for high-profile sport events.

South African top-tier football club Ajax Cape Town are tenants at a stadium owned by the Cape Town local government.

But apart from visits by hugely popular Soweto clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, they draw small crowds.

Cape Town government officials have tried several times without success to woo the Western Stormers Super 15 side from Newlands.

The provincial rugby body own Newlands whereas they would be tenants at Cape Town Stadium, and the exclusively rugby venue has more money-spinning hospitality suites.

South Africa, whose national sevens side are called the BlitzBokke, top the 2014-2015 Sevens Series standings with 93 points, hotly pursued by great rivals New Zealand (88).

Hong Kong host the next leg next weekend.

Source: Modern Ghana


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