Africa is leading the world in Mobile commerce and payment with active deployments all across the continent. M-PESA is now referred to as the most successful of all with more than 7 million subscribers in Kenya alone. Many look alike deployments are either in active roll outs or in the offing.
Though mobile money is generally known as the play turf of mobile operators but financial institution are also seeking for a piece of the cake that will enable them bank the unbanked and reach millions of Africans that are currently left behind.
As the landscape gets interesting with strong compelling needs for mobile payment technologist, agency developers, third party Banking agents, support services and consultants to support the evolving ecosystem, there is need to develop a skill pool and talent Bank that will position the industry on a proper footing.
Despite the urgent need to bring formal financial services to millions across Africa where millions are still excluded from any form of formal financial inclusion, the main challenge of how Mobile money works and the value creation that it adds to the overall strategy of the provider, Banks and mobile operators. The industry is still faced with critical manpower shortages. The governments are still trying to tackle regulation, Banks battling understanding low value, volume transaction platforms while mobile operators are untying the risk involved in managing deposits which they are not used to.
The presence of the challenges is now creating a new pool of corporate mercenaries which specializes in hijacking new industries with the short term aim of instant benefits against industry experts with the deep knowledge that can sustain long term vision of the organizations. Corporate mercenaries are promoting all sorts of technologies and solutions which cannot be sustained and does not deliver strong value realization even if it meets short term objectives of the banks. Mismatches at the early stages can set the stage for a future failure and Africa cannot afford not to properly position Mobile money as it holds the key to meeting many of the millennium development goals and targets.
Financial institutions are prone to such mis-hires at the early stages. Some Banks are actually deploying technologies which are not compatible with more than 30 percent of their total target mobile subscribers based on some expert mercenary advice which will ultimately ruin the project in the long run.
Industry experts are still few in the industry but their efforts are contributing positively all across Africa and they have deep insights across all the sectors to make change happen. Africa will need to tap into her reservoir of talents all around the world and also groom new hands to sustain this rapid growing industry that holds so many promises for Africa.
Lastly, mobile operators and Banks should collaborate further to develop mobilemoney academies to serve their markets and grow the industry together. Lessons are to be learnt from the Orange Money Academy in Mali. We cannot afford to loose out on this last chance opportunity.