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Telecom Operators Seek Participation in Mobile Money

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  • Telecom Operators Seek Participation in Mobile Money

Major network operators in the country are soliciting an opportunity to participate in the mobile money industry to drive financial inclusion.

MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile promised to deepen financial inclusion in the next 30 months by collectively reaching 90 million Nigerians.

The telcos made this commitment at a gathering of industry players facilitated by the Academic Director and Senior Fellow at the Lagos Business School, Yinka David-West, according to a statement on Wednesday.

They noted that the progress made in financial inclusion since the issuance of the first mobile money licence in 2009 had been slow.

According to them, telcos in most sub-Saharan African markets, where mobile money is successful, are given a level playing field, while Nigerian operators are excluded.

David-West said, “Far beyond financial inclusion rates in Nigeria, we also have to examine how people currently considered to have access to financial services stack up when evaluated against the criteria for true financial inclusion, that is access to a full suite of quality financial services provided at affordable prices in a convenient manner.

“When evaluated against this definition, it is clear that as a country, we have to work, not just to drastically increase the number of financially included persons, but also to increase the quality of inclusion and access we give, especially if we hope to positively impact the economy and the quality of the lives of Nigerians in any meaningful way.”

Speaking on the impact of the telcos’ participation in the industry, the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, said, “According to McKinsey, as a direct result of increasing financial inclusion rates, Nigeria could realise as much as a 12.4 per cent boost in the GDP, the creation of three million new jobs, $2bn reduction in government leakages and $57bn in new credit for small and medium-scale enterprises over a four-year period.

“The telcos’ proposed intervention will not only give customers access to a variety of affordable financial products and services, but also deliver 1,000,000 direct jobs in addition to the other benefits identified by the McKinsey report. Opening up the digital financial services sector can be the basis for transformative change in the structure and sustainability of growth in the Nigerian economy.

“We acknowledge the concrete commitments the industry has made towards delivering access to financial services today as well as their commitment to financial literacy, which while vital, cannot happen in isolation of the telcos. This integrated approach, if allowed to, will deliver long-term solutions and tangible impact.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Telecommunications

Lagos Residents Frustrated by Rapid Data Drain, Call for NCC Action

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Lagos residents are expressing increasing frustration over what they describe as the rapid depletion of their data bundles.

Many subscribers are now calling on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to address their concerns as they suspect changes in billing practices by telecommunication providers.

Numerous subscribers have reported that their data does not last as long as it used to. A Lagos-based teacher, Mrs. Nafidah Zaynab, shared her experience, stating that a N2,000 data bundle, which previously lasted almost a month, now depletes within just a few days.

This sentiment is echoed by many, including Idowu Anabili, a trader who has reduced his data usage due to rising costs.

Abdullahi Yunus, who runs a café, noted a significant increase in his data expenses, spending between N70,000 and N100,000 monthly, up from N30,000. He attributes this spike to faster data consumption.

Telecom operators deny any wrongdoing, attributing the faster data consumption to increased usage by subscribers.

An anonymous official from MTN explained that the variety of activities performed on smartphones has increased, leading to faster data usage.

Airtel Nigeria’s spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adeniran, suggested that background apps and high-definition streaming contribute to the issue.

Despite complaints, operators assert they have not officially increased data prices. They emphasize that automatic app updates and other technical factors may be responsible for the perceived quick depletion.

Experts suggest that the challenging economic climate may be pressuring telecom companies to subtly reduce data value.

The industry has reported a 43% rise in operational costs, although no formal tariff hikes have been announced.

The NCC has clarified that it has not authorized any increase in data tariffs. The commission highlights technical factors like automatic video play and app updates as potential causes for quick data depletion.

In a bid to assist consumers, the NCC has advised turning on data saver modes and managing app updates to conserve data.

To combat the issue, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have initiated a campaign to educate consumers on optimizing their data usage.

They recommend practices such as disabling automatic updates and closing unused apps.

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Social Media

Meta Shuts Down 63,000 Nigerian Accounts in Sextortion Crackdown

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In a significant move to combat online crime, Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has removed 63,000 accounts in Nigeria linked to sextortion scams.

This sweeping action is part of Meta’s ongoing effort to address the growing threat of digital extortion on its platforms.

Unmasking the Scammers

The crackdown, which took place at the end of May, targeted accounts engaged in blackmail schemes.

These scammers posed as young women to coerce individuals into sharing intimate photos, which were then used to extort money from the victims.

The removal follows a Bloomberg Businessweek exposé highlighting the rise of such crimes, particularly affecting teenagers in the United States.

The Global Impact

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified sextortion as one of the fastest-growing crimes targeting minors.

The schemes often lead to severe consequences, including the tragic suicides of more than two dozen teens.

In one high-profile case, the death of 17-year-old Jordan DeMay in Michigan led to the arrest of suspects traced back to Lagos, Nigeria.

The Role of the Yahoo Boys

Many of the dismantled accounts were linked to the “Yahoo Boys,” a notorious group known for orchestrating various online scams.

These individuals have been using social media to recruit and train new scammers, sharing blackmail scripts and fake account guides.

Meta’s Response

Meta’s spokesperson emphasized the company’s commitment to user safety, stating, “Financial sextortion is a horrific crime that can have devastating consequences.”

The company is continually improving its defenses and has reported offenders targeting minors to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

To enhance protection, Meta has implemented stricter messaging settings for teen accounts and safety notices regarding sextortion.

They are also employing technology to blur potentially harmful images shared with minors.

Ongoing Efforts

Meta’s actions highlight the complex and evolving nature of online crime. The company has pledged to remain vigilant, adapting its strategies to counter new threats as they emerge.

“This is an adversarial space where criminals evolve to evade our defenses,” Meta noted.

Looking Forward

As digital platforms continue to grapple with issues of privacy and security, Meta’s recent actions demonstrate a proactive stance in safeguarding users.

By dismantling these networks, the company aims to reduce the prevalence of sextortion and foster a safer online environment for all.

The crackdown serves as a reminder of the need for continued vigilance and collaboration between tech companies and law enforcement to protect individuals from the harmful effects of digital exploitation.

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Fintech

Flutterwave Celebrates Inclusion in CNBC’s Top 250 Global Fintechs

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Flutterwave has been recognized as one of the Top 250 Fintech companies globally by CNBC and Statista.

Joining the ranks of industry giants like Ali Pay, Klarna, Piggyvest, and Mastercard, this accolade underscores Flutterwave’s impact on the financial technology sector.

This honor follows Flutterwave’s recent inclusion in Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list, highlighting the company’s pivotal role in transforming Africa’s payment landscape.

The recognition is a testament to Flutterwave’s dedication to innovation and excellence in providing seamless payment solutions across the continent.

Expressing gratitude, Flutterwave acknowledged its talented team, supportive board, reliable partners, and loyal customers for contributing to this success.

The company continues to drive progress in the fintech industry, reinforcing its commitment to enhancing financial accessibility and inclusion in Africa and beyond.

Flutterwave’s recognition on these prestigious lists marks a proud moment and a significant milestone in its journey, reflecting the company’s growing influence and leadership in the global fintech arena.

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