Nigeria-based Paga has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to expand its network of local entrepreneur agents to 40,000 across the country.
The move is to enable the technology firm serve 22 million customers by 2018. By that same year, the company aims to extend its savings and credit products to 5 million people across Nigeria.
Launched in 2008, the BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors.
It is supported by several international organisations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria is a huge potential market for financial services, yet inequality, internal strife and economic instability have hampered access to these services – especially in rural areas.
Despite the country’s oil resources, nearly nine in ten Nigerians live below the poverty line, with income, education and the urban-rural divide the biggest barriers to financial inclusion.
According to a statement yesterday, Paga is seeking to harness innovation in order to deliver universal access to financial services in Nigeria and beyond.
Paga’s Founder and CEO, Tayo Oviosu said: “A critical factor to inclusive growth is access to finance and convenient payment systems. What we are doing at Paga is changing the delivery of financial services and making it much more accessible to everyone. In so doing we are also creating an army of entrepreneurs and jobs across Nigeria. It is very exciting. While we have started in Nigeria, our vision is pan-African.
“Paga’s 10,500 local agents is the largest network of financial access points in Nigeria. These agents are small entrepreneurs who offer Paga services within their grocery stores, boutiques, pharmacies etc. They enable customers to withdraw or deposit cash, transfer money and pay their utility and household bills through the Paga platform. In rural areas without bank branches, these entrepreneurs have become people’s sole access points for these critical services.
“To date, Paga has processed 27 million transactions worth over US$1.7 billion combined. It aims to expand its agent network to 40,000 across Nigeria by 2018, connecting even more remote areas with financial services while supporting tens of thousands of small businesses.”
On his part, Programme Manager of the BCtA, Paula Peleaz said: “The backbone of a thriving economy is financial inclusion,” “Paga is expanding access to financial services in remote rural areas while strengthening local businesses. We are pleased to welcome this pioneering company to the Business Call to Action.”