Verdant Capital's MD speaks at the recent AfricaCom Conference
Verdant Capital’s Managing Director, Ed Higenbottam spoke at the recent AfricaCom conference on the panel on mobile financial services, alongside Equity Bank’s John Staley (Chief Officer – Finance Innovation & Technology) and Letshego’s James Wainaina (Group Head of Customer Experience).
John Staley explained Equity Bank’s strategy in entering the MVNO business as to try to break the operator dependency, which is an inevitable consequence of most mobile banking in Africa being conducted through the USSD channel. Equity Bank has introduced a film SIM technology to allow customers to switch network in order to perform banking.
He explained that most telcos initially entered the mobile money business in order for the reason of customer stickiness, but that the need for mobile money operators to offer inter-operability has now negated this rational. He said that going forward mobile money will be a driver of customer stickiness for banks.
Ed Higenbottam discussed the trend for ever cheaper smart phones and the availability of financing for buying them, and these smart phones connecting customers to the internet for the first time. He went on to discuss the potential impact on access to services including financial services. Implicit in this trend and availability of app-based on-line financial services, is a threat to the traditional USSD-based mobile money technology, which offers a narrower range of services.
Another key theme identified by the panel was the impact of social screening as customer identification and fraud prevention tool.