By leveraging technology, tech-savvy youth and a vast majority of Africans with mobile devices - phones, tablets, laptop computers etc. - now carry out transactions seamlessly. Before the mobile revolution, people went through harrowing experiences carrying out transactions across the continent.
In Nigeria and most African countries, it was once the era of ‘tally number’ when people waited endlessly in the banking halls to cash cheques or pay for services through a banker’s cheque or money order. This was a monumental waste of time that adversely impacted man-hours, productivity and revenue.
This is fundamentally why a digital payments system is one of the five operational instruments of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The objectives of the AfCFTA include creation of a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, aided by a digital payments system that eliminates the need for cash transactions.
Thankfully, we have made great strides towards digitizing payments and making financial services available across the continent. People are now able to access financial services effortlessly from their mobile phones thanks to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and financial technology companies digitizing payments for consumers and businesses.
Tingg, a digital payments ecosystem built by Cellulant is providing the interoperability envisioned by the AfCFTA by providing a seamless movement of money for a more connected Africa. Serving more than 34 countries in Africa, Tingg is enabling digitization across many sectors by providing a platform with a single API and settlement point for collections and payouts in Africa.
Available in countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Botswana, Tingg provides a simple and secure digital platform that makes it easy to make and receive payments from anywhere. The payments platform connects businesses and SMEs to easily accessible payment options that are locally relevant to their increasingly mobile consumers.
In Nigeria, Tingg provided a unique opportunity for youth, retailers looking to become agents and those already in the mobile agency business. This is an effort by Cellulant to curtail the unemployment rate by providing an accessible tool for employment for those looking for a job or want to start their journey as entrepreneurs.
In 2016, statistical reports revealed that in Nigeria, approximately 47% of graduates are thrown into the unemployment basket yearly. Another report suggests only 51% of graduates get to practice their course of study after spending years in the university getting certified.
One of the ways that Tingg is solving this is by building agent networks in rural areas thereby creating numerous employment opportunities, reaching as much as far into Northern Nigeria and the Niger Delta regions (both of which house the highest unemployment rates in the country since 2017) where digital financial inclusion is near zero.
There has been a steady increase in the adoption and use of digital financial services as provided by Tingg, aiding the Central Bank of Nigeria’s plan to create 500,000 agency banking networks nationwide, and to bring in 40 million Nigerians into the formal financial service by the end of the year 2020. This target is looking very feasible as the agency network continues to gain more momentum.
So far, hundreds have been afforded job opportunities in these selected regions. Enabling financial inclusion amongst many and providing an avenue to earn money, Tingg’s impact has been felt not just as a mobile money venture provider but also as an enabler for other businesses, helping merchants and people pay and be paid for goods bought and services rendered.