Lagos, Nigeria, June 9, 2014—IFC, a
member of the World Bank Group, today announced it signed an advisory services
agreement with Firstmonie, a subsidiary of First Bank Nigeria Limited,
to advance mobile financial services and agent banking in order to strengthen
the supply of affordable financial services to low-income individuals and
small-scale entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
IFC will provide Firstmonie with technical
assistance in financial modeling, agent management and customer activation,
to a value of $550,000, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mr. Mike Ogbalu, Managing Director of Pridar
Systems (wholly owned by FirstBank), the owners of Firstmonie, said, “At
Firstmonie, we are committed to expanding mobile financial services to
the under banked and low income communities. With the advisory support
from IFC, we hope to achieve our goal of boosting financial inclusion through
our product offerings and decrease the population of the unbanked and under-banked
Nigeria has a low rate of financial inclusion,
with only 43% of the adult population having access to formal financial
services. The Central Bank of Nigeria issued licenses for mobile money
operators in 2010, but adoption and usage has been slow to take off due
to high costs, poor agent network management and low awareness amongst
David Crush, Manager, IFC Access to Finance,
Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “Firstmonie and IFC aim to develop a best practice
mobile money operation that will demonstrate the sustainable business case
for affordable financial services in one of Africa’s most important economies.
This is a step towards reaching full financial inclusion in Nigeria.”
Firstmonie Mobile Money Service is an innovative
product that enables customers to access financial and other value added
services through their mobile phones.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is
the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private
sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we
use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty
and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time
high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector
to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org