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MTN Nigeria’s YDFS Partners Bet Operators As Mobile Mobile Agents

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MTN Nigeria’s YDFS Partners Bet Operators As Mobile Mobile Agents, SiliconNigeria

Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), a subsidiary of MTN Nigeria, has announced its partnership with gaming operators, Betway, BetPawa and Betmojo through its flagship mobile money transfer service, MoMo agent.

 The strategic partnership will enable customers to cash their winnings and fund wallets conveniently at any MoMo agent outlet nationwide.

Chief Executive Officer, YDFS, Usoro Usoro,said the “partnerships are the fuel for progress within our communities. So, we are constantly exploring innovative relationships to help deliver cost-effective, fast, transparent, and reliable remittance services. 

 “Our customers deserve simple solutions making it easier for them to access financial services, no matter where they are. Our partnership with gaming operators helps deliver that,” Usoro added.

Speaking on the partnership, Lere Awokoya, Betway’s country manager said, “We are proud of our collaboration with MoMo. Our customers now have easier access to their Betway wallet guaranteed. Customers can also deposit and cash-out wins with their neighbourhood MoMo Agent.”

“We are committed to improving our customer’s experiences through a more personable, digital and sustainable approach. This partnership provides that. We look forward to a successful working arrangement that continually keeps the customer in focus,” added Segun Somefun, CEO, Betpawa

Betmojo customers can also take advantage of the partnership through the ‘Pick 3’ game on the platform to cash out on their winnings with MoMo. With an agent base of over 300,000 across the country, MoMo Agent forms a major part of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial inclusion drive to ensure that 95 per cent of adults are financially included by 2024.

The partnership allows customers to utilise MoMo’s widespread presence and reliable service to access funds. MoMo Agent services include bill payment, cash deposit and withdrawal, data and airtime purchase, and a bulk disbursement solution which enables public and private companies to make payment to beneficiaries anywhere in Nigeria without a bank account or ATM availability. 

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MTN Nigeria’s Fintech Grows 48.2% As Revenue Tops N790.3bn in H1

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MTN Nigeria’s Fintech Grows 48.2% As Revenue Tops N790.3bn in H1, SiliconNigeria

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) has announced its unaudited results for the half-year ended 30 June 2021, as well as plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary with numerous national impact projects with Fintech revenue rising by 48.2%, driven by increased adoption of Xtratime and core fintech services.

The telco said it will continue to expand its MoMo agent network and broaden its service offerings. MTN’s registered MoMo agents increased by 121,000 in H1 2021 to more than 515,000. Transaction volume increased by 280.8% YoY to 55.6 million in H1 2021, and active subscriber base is now more than 6.1 million, up 180.0% YoY.

Speaking on the results, MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola said MTN’s digital business continued to gain traction on the back of strong partner ecosystem and the uptake of MTN’s products and services. “Digital revenue rose by 61.8%, also supported by our rich media and value-added services. Our active user base rose by 38.0% to over 3.9 million, led by Ayoba – our instant messaging platform – with more than 2.3 million active users.”

He said the enterprise business revenue increased by 6.0%, demonstrating the continued recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown and the uptake of MTN’s services by the businesses its serve. “We have made significant progress in concluding the operational modalities for the new pricing framework for USSD services, which incorporates the recovery of outstanding USSD debts.

“We continue to pursue and realise efficiency through cost discipline and enhanced digitisation. However, due to an accelerated site rollout, the effects of Naira depreciation on lease rental costs and Covid-19 related expenditure, operating expenses increased by 24.6%. Our continued ability to drive operating leverage helped to drive EBITDA growth to 27.6%, with a 1.4pp expansion in our EBITDA margin to 52.7%.”

Service revenue grew by 24.1% YoY, driven by the sustained growth in data and also partly due to the lower base in comparative 2020 voice revenue that resulted from lockdowns during that period.

Voice revenue grew by 13.1%, benefitting from an 11.8% increase in traffic and our customer value management (CVM) initiatives. The impact on voice revenue from the industry-wide suspension of new SIM registration was partly offset by higher usage in our active SIM base as well as migration to a higher quality of experience.

Data revenue continued the positive momentum from H2 2020, rising by 48.3%. This was driven by increased usage from the existing base, supported by the acceleration in our 4G rollout and enhanced network capacity following the acquisition and activation of additional 800MHz spectrum in Q1. Data traffic rose by 83.0% YoY, while smartphone penetration was up by 5.8pp to 49.3%. Our 4G network now covers 65.1% of the population, up from 60.1% in December 2020.

According to him, capital expenditure in the period was 39.1% higher to N186.4 billion, as MTN continued to invest in its network to maintain service quality and aggressively expand footprint in terms of 4G and rural coverage. “We recorded a healthy free cash flow of N230.8 billion, up by 19.6%. Despite a 50.6% increase in core capex excluding right of use assets to N114.5 billion, capex intensity remained within target levels at 14.5%. Depreciation and amortisation rose by 17.1% and net finance cost was down by 9.8%, resulting from a lower average cost of borrowings. Overall, we recorded a PBT growth of 54.1%, also reflecting the softer base of H1 2020.”

N3bn to CACOVID

Commenting further, Toriola said: “In the first half of 2021, we made good progress strengthening the resilience of the business, managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and enhancing support to our people, customers and other stakeholders. We extended our commitment to the Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID) with an additional N3 billion contribution over a two-year period, half of which has already been paid. This is in support of efforts to promote the health and security of Nigerians, as we navigate our way through the pandemic; and in line with our Y’ello Hope initiatives through which we provided support to our broad base of stakeholders to the value of approximately N25 billion in 2020.

“Our progress towards achieving greater business resilience is reflected in the upgrade by Global Credit Ratings (GCR) of our national scale long-term issuer rating to AAA and affirmation of our national scale short-term rating of A1+ with a stable outlook. This puts MTN Nigeria on the highest possible GCR scale for short-term and long-term ratings, providing a solid platform for growth.

20 years anniversary

“2021 marks the 20th anniversary of MTN’s presence in Nigeria. As we celebrate this milestone, we are pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has approved our participation in the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) Scheme. This is in response to Government’s drive towards public-private partnerships in the rehabilitation of critical road infrastructure in Nigeria. We intend to participate in the restoration and refurbishment of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway. Conversations in this regard have already commenced, and further announcements will be made in due course.

MTN’s New Head Office

“In line with our desire to plant deeper and more permanent roots in Nigeria, we have also initiated plans to commission a purpose-built, state of the art MTN Head Office, designed to act as a central hub for our network, a catalyst for creativity and innovation, and a showcase for the flexible working structures that are driving efficiency gains in this new normal working environment. Aligned with our wider commitment to environmental sustainability, it will meet the highest global environmental standards, demonstrating the role of green technology in our future.

14% Equity Sell to Nigerians

Following MTN Group’s stated intention to sell down up to 14% of its investment in MTN Nigeria, subject to market conditions over the medium-term, MTN Nigeria’s shareholders approved an equity shelf programme at the last Annual General Meeting. This will facilitate a process to increase ownership of the Company by more Nigerian retail and institutional investors. Alongside this, we further localised our predominantly Nigerian management team with the appointment of Nigerians to two key senior positions (Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Information Officer) previously held by expatriates.

N600bn broadband Investment

MTN Nigeria continues to invest in improved world class services and its network, accelerating the expansion of our 4G coverage and providing home broadband. As part of our rural connectivity programme, we plan to connect approximately 1,000 rural communities to our network this year with additional 2,000 communities in 2022. We are delighted that these are translating into strong operational performance in line with the objectives of Ambition 2025. In the next 3 years, we will invest over N600 billion to expand broadband access across the country in support of Government’s Broadband Plan.

Operationally, our mobile subscribers closed H1 at 68.9 million, down 9.9% from December 2020. This was due to the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations, which was lifted on 19 April 2021. Although the initial run-rate of additions has been slower than usual due to new process requirements, we anticipate growth to normalise in the short-term as more of our acquisition centres are certified for SIM registration.

Finally, our Board of Directors has approved an interim dividend of N4.55 kobo per share to be paid out of distributable net income. This represents a growth of 30% over N3.50 kobo per share paid in H1 2020.”

New SIM Registration Requirement

We are actively supporting the Government’s NIN enrolment programme with more than 380 points of enrolment active across the country. We are working with National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to complete bulk verification of the National Identity Numbers (NINs) collected and increase the enrolment centres to provide an access point for as many Nigerian as possible. To this end, we have acquired over 40,000 enrolment devices, which are being configured for this purpose. As of 26 July 2021, approximately 37 million subscribers have submitted their NINs, representing around 54% of our subscriber base and 65% of service revenue. The deadline for NIN verification has been extended to 31 October 2021.

Outlook

To enable us to continue to take advantage of emerging opportunities, we have refined our strategy. The new strategy called Ambition 2025 is closely aligned with that of MTN Group and is built on four key strategic priorities: build the largest and most valuable platforms, drive industry-leading connectivity operations, create shared value and accelerate portfolio transformation. These priorities will define our focus for the next five years. Taking advantage of MTN’s existing platforms and assets, we are well-positioned to accelerate long term growth as we continue to monitor and manage the impacts of the pandemic.

We have a clear focus on sustaining double-digit service revenue growth ahead of inflation, driving 4G and rural network expansion, as well as positioning our fintech and digital businesses for accelerated growth in order to unlock their full value. In addition, we will continue to sustain our expense efficiency programme to strengthen our financial position and support margins. In the remainder of the year, we anticipate that the base effects will partly influence our commercial and financial trends. Although the availability of foreign exchange remains a constraint, we strive to minimise its impact on the business.

We are driving a positive culture change across the organisation to enhance productivity and further improve performance. We maintain our strong focus on deeper, proactive and inclusive engagements to drive shared value for all stakeholders, while ensuring that our activities align with and contribute to the Government’s development agenda.

Finally, emerging trends indicate a steady recovery in economic activity. However, given the ongoing uncertainties presented by the new wave of the COVID-19 outbreak and the NIN registration exercise, we remain mindful of changes to the operating environment as the rest of the year unfolds, concluded Toriola.

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Branch International Deepens Financial Inclusion in Nigeria Via Digital Banking

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Branch International Deepens Financial Inclusion in Nigeria Via Digital Banking, SiliconNigeria
  • Processes N40bn Loans in 3 years
  • offers 20% annual investment returns, free unlimited transfers, instant loans and more

Branch International said in the past three years of its operations in Nigeria, it has processed over N40 billion in over three million loan transactions and remains one of the most downloaded financial apps in Africa.

Branch is founded by Kiva.org founders, an NGO which has raised over $1.5 billion in zero interest interest capital for global financial inclusion. It is one of Africa’s most downloaded digital banking apps with over 20 million downloads across Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and India, restating its commitment to driving financial inclusion in Nigeria.

The company is achieving this by leveraging technology to offer a range of unique financial services to customers which was announced recently at a virtual round table held in Lagos. According to Branch, the quest to make formal financial services accessible at an affordable rate to individuals and businesses is critical in systematically driving economic development. Thus, their unique range of offerings are designed to offer value to customers whilst enabling them make payments and granting access to loans and investment opportunities.

These product features include: free and unlimited money transfers, free bills payment and airtime purchase; a 20 per cent annual investment returns (one of the highest in Nigeria) without any withdrawal restrictions – investments made through the Branch app are channeled into low-risk financial instruments with capital preservation as the ultimate goal, and; instant loans up to ₦500,000 in minutes with no paperwork or collaterals required and no late charges.

The managing director, Branch Nigeria, Adedayo Ademola, said, “At Branch, it is our commitment to keep up with our objective of leading the way in digital banking, in order to improve the financial wellbeing of Nigerians, unlock the greater potential within the financial services sector and promote seamless banking across the country. Our approach as a mobile-only digital bank is deeply rooted in us prioritizing the convenience, satisfaction and safety of our customers”. 

“With Branch’s suite of unique products, we are consistently pushing the envelope by offering customers valuable services beyond the conventional banking needs thereby making a meaningful impact on their lives. Branch remains perfectly poised to take on the challenge of providing access to affordable financial services for all”, she added. 

For this, the founders have received global media recognition and several awards including being listed in Fortune 40 Under 40. With support from world-class investors such as VISA, IFC and Andreessen Horowitz, Branch continues to deliver superior customer value. 

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UK to Support Nigerian Female GreenTech Entrepreneurs to Scale

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UK to Support Nigerian Female GreenTech Entrepreneurs to Scale, SiliconNigeria

The UK Government, through its UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, has launched a Green Tech Programme, which will support 30 Nigerian female green-tech entrepreneurs with 12 weeks coaching sessions with industry experts.

These coaching sessions would seek to boost the capacity of the entrepreneurs, as well as the likelihood of the enterprises to scale and become more sustainable businesses.

The Hub, in collaboration with Future Females as the implementing partner, has taken this next step as part of its pledge to help drive clean, resilient and inclusive recoveries in Nigeria – shaping the low carbon economy of the future that will create new jobs, attract green investment and protect the environment for future generations.

The programme targeted at Nigerian female entrepreneurs with early-stage businesses aimed at protecting the environment and conserving natural resources using alternative technologies that are less harmful to the environment, will run virtually for three months and will cover 10 actionable modules that take entrepreneurs through the fundamental building blocks of starting and growing a GreenTech business. 

Speaking on this, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Ben Llewellyn-Jones said: “As the world looks to build back better from the COVID 19 Pandemic, which has affected millions of lives and adversely affected economies, it is important to remember that we are still tackling an even greater crisis – climate change. The UK, as the host of the 2021 UN Climate Change summit is working hard in advance of COP26 to increase the level of global ambition necessary to ensure that we are on track to limit global warming to below 2 degrees.

“The UK, as a bilateral partner, is committed to supporting Nigeria in delivering an accelerated and just transition, not only to meet the climate imperative but to ensure the country is at the forefront of shifts in the global economy. Like the transition itself, this support is at all levels – from £200 million flowing into major clean technology programmes through International Climate Finance to entrepreneurs, to designing and developing small and micro-enterprise sustainable companies of the future.”

The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub Interim Country Director, Lamide Johnson said: “Climate Change remains a priority for the UK-Government. We are pleased to have partnered with Future Females to help and support Green Tech Female Business entreprenuers in Nigeria who are tirelessly working hard to promote the use of technology to solve problems caused by climate change, and invariably promote a greener world.”

Commenting on the GreenTech programme launch, Future Females Co-Founder, Cerina Bezuidenhout said: “At Future Females, we have always been passionate about supporting sustainable businesses, and we are very excited to be focusing on GreenTech businesses in our partnership with UK-Nigeria Tech Hub. The entrepreneurs who participate in our programmes are not just building businesses – they’re creating innovative solutions to real problems we’re facing in this ‘new’ world, and they are a source of hope for their communities – and we can’t wait to meet them.”

The programme is set to commence on May 24th 2021  and applications to participate will close on Friday, 7th of May 2021, all interested Nigerian female green-tech entreprenuers can apply here-  https://futurefemales.typeform.com/to/hg6bBbv9

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