1) What does Musoni Services do in the mobile money and digital payments sector?
The Musoni System is a best-practice microfinance platform that integrates with the leading East African MMT services to enable MFIs in the region to send and receive transactions over mobile money. This enables MFIs to immediately improve efficiency, reduce risks and lower costs, as well as making it easier extend financial services into the traditionally underserved rural areas. We now work with six MFIs across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and are looking to expand into new markets as well as continue adding new payment channels and MMT providers.
2) Any particular current or recent projects/success stories that you want to share?
Since establishing Musoni Kenya, the first world’s first 100% mobile microfinance organization, last year we reached a major milestone – having processed 1 million M-PESA transactions through our system. Over the years we’ve learnt a lot of lessons about the best ways to embed mobile money into an MFI’s operations, and its fantastic to have the opportunity to share this with more and more MFIs and digital payment providers as we continue to expand.
3) What do you see as the main challenges for this industry?
In spite of the potential that mobile money brings to the financial sector, many microfinance institutions have been slow to adopt mobile money.
MFIs frequently struggle with technical integration requirements, making it hard for them to process large numbers of mobile payments. Even today, many of the MFIs in Kenya who enable their clients to repay using M-PESA still require a team of data entry clerks to manually record each mobile payment and then enter the same details again into their IT system. Improvements in MMT platforms, making it easier to for MFIs (or system providers) to automatically pull incoming transactions into their systems, or to push outgoing B2C payments through the MMT platforms, would make it far easier for mobile microfinance to reach its potential.
4) What is your vision for the industry?
I see mobile money and digital payments as key to revolutionizing financial services for low-income individuals. The industry has already taken its first steps in this direction, but over the coming years I hope to see MFIs take advantage of the new technology to expand financial inclusion in rural areas (where most of the unbanked live), improve product ranges making it easier for clients to transact ever smaller amounts, and use the efficiency gains achieved with mobile money to reduce end costs for clients. I hope to see more collaboration between MMT providers and financial institutions, combining the value of the new technology with the on-the-ground presence and community understanding provided by the MFIs.
5) Your presentation at Mobile Money & Digital Payments Africa focuses on “Expanding the African mobile money footprint through microfinance.” Can you give us a sneak preview of your main message at the event?
I’ll explain why linking microfinance and mobile money provides a fantastic opportunity for both MFIs and mobile money providers. I’ll draw upon my experiences with Musoni Kenya, the first microfinance institution in the world to be completely mobile, as well as expand upon the work we’ve been doing at Musoni Services introducing mobile payments to other MFIs in SSA. I’ll describe the key steps that need to be taken by an MFIs looking to take advantage of mobile payments and highlight the common challenges faced along the journey.