Digital money transfer service provider, World Remit, has restated commitment to strengthen online money transfer in Nigeria as it announced strategic partnership with First Bank of Nigeria, FBN, to simplify transfer process in the country.
This is coming as the International Finance Corporation, IFC, has announced Nigeriaâ€™s poor-performance in the area of financial inclusion and mobile money services compared to the progress of other sub-Saharan Africa countries.
IFC in a report titled, â€˜Digital Access: The Future of Financial Inclusion in Africaâ€™ had disclosed that the number of financially excluded people in Nigeria increased by 2.1 per cent in 2017 to 40.1 million, a development which its linked to modest growth in mobile money.
The latest deal between the World Remit and First Bank would deepen mobile money service and financial inclusion in the country while also giving access to customers of the online money operator in over 50 countries to send money instantly to 14 million FBN accounts directly from their phones.
Speaking on the deal that further supports the providerâ€™s plan to get 10 million customers connected to emerging markets by 2020, Regional Head of Middle East & Africa at World Remit, Andrew Stewart, stated that Nigeria had yet to fully harness the potential of digital financial inclusion whereas other Africa countries relied more on mobile money service than bank account.
He added that this trend would impact negatively on economic growth and development.
He said that the firm was determined to revolutionalise money transfer and cause more people to embrace digital process of remittance in Nigeria – being its largest market in Africa and second globally, hence its partnership with First bank and subsequently, eight other banks before the end of the year.
Stewart said; â€œWe are delighted to have partnered with FBN to give its 14 million customers access to our best in class money transfer experience. Nigeria remains our largest and fastest-growing market in Africa and second-biggest market globally. This is a key partnership in Nigeria that would further support her transition from offline remittances to online, safer, faster and lower-cost money transfer agent.â€
Reacting to World Bank report which states that Sub-Saharan Africa remained the most expensive region to send remittances to, with an average cost of 9.4 per cent for sending $200, the firmâ€™s Global Head, PR and Media Relations, Lucas Germans, stated that the platform was working to reverse this trend, being technology-friendly that does not charge a fixed rate for remittance unlike conventional operators.
â€œOur model of operations being virtual has simplified money transfer process that you do not have to go through the burden of the conventional process. We donâ€™t have a fixed pricing like the physical operators, hence reduced charges of transaction. We also plan exploring other African countries including, South Africa, Rwanda, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. The platform is safe, affordable and convenient, â€œ he stated.
Group Head of Products and Marketing Support at First Bank, Abiodun Famuyiwa, added, â€œWe are indeed excited to be working with World Remit in delivering swift digital remittances to its customers in Nigeria. This partnership is one of the numerous ways the bank would continue to put customers first by leading the industry in the use of technology to provide safe, convenient and fast banking solutions.â€
With a diaspora of over 15 million people living in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, remittances play an increasingly important role in Nigeriaâ€™s economy. The World Bank estimates that in 2017 alone, Nigeria received over $22 billion in remittances, making it the largest recipient in Africa.