Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rising Profile of Nigeria's E-Payment System

Rising profile of Nigeria’s e-payment system

WEDNESDAY, 27 MARCH 2013 00:00

WITHOUT doubt, the record of cards and electronic payment in Nigeria has transcended beyond the challenges around the initiative, with upsurge in acceptance, just as the transactions’ figures sustained rising profile. But behind the figures are ingenious designs made possible by innovative ideas. This means that the future of cards and e-payment in Nigeria and Africa as a whole lies in what we can imagine and create.

Beside infrastructure, which has been assessed as parlous, not only in Nigeria, but across the continent, individual/group talents and innovative ideas have the potentials of charting a path to greatness, especially when the future may have been predicted gloomy for the developing and under-developing nations.

However, despite the harsh business environment characterized partly by the infrastructure deficit in the continent and Nigeria, in particular, many are still thriving in their respective businesses, leaving others wondering the source of the “magic wand”. In most cases, the success story lies in innovative scheme.

But speaking on the role of recognition in driving innovative schemes to a new height in Africa, the Managing Consultant, Intermac Consulting, Adeyinka Adeyemi, said that the rapid growth of electronic payment across the continent is driven by innovative products occasioned by huge investments in research and development, hence the maiden edition of the Card and e-Payment Africa Awards (CePAA) will drive further the huge investment into research and development needed to sustain innovation in electronic payment in Africa.

He said: “There is just nobody noticing the huge investments going into research and development to bring new technologies and new solutions. Sometimes these solutions succeed, other times they fail. But when they fail, most stakeholders tend to go back, spend more, until they get to the market. Once they get to the market with the product, nobody recognizes their effort, even though they make money by selling their services. We must come to terms with the fact that there are people who are doing a lot of work to get the products to the shelves and to get technologies that will work to the table and we must encourage them. That is why CePAA is relevant.”

The Vice President and Area Business Head for Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands of Mastercard Worldwide, Charlton Goredema, while receiving the award for Best Security and Authentication Programme, said that “card usage and acceptance in Africa has become phenomenal, especially given the volume and value of transactions recorded on a daily basis for e-commerce. Financial institutions and payment system providers who are making this convenience and security to happen should be recognised for their efforts and investment in innovative products and services.”

The Managing Director of Empresa Interbancaria de Servicos, Angola, Jose de Matos, while receiving the Personality of the Year award, at CePPA, commended Intermarc Consulting for its leadership, passion and commitment in organizing the award, stating that “the initiative could not have come at a better time, as the African continent is experiencing a huge appreciation of technology in the day to day activity of the average citizen”.

Receiving the Best Card Benefit Programme of the Year award on behalf of Absa Bank South Africa, the Chief of Staff, Card and Consumer Finance, Juanita Matelakengisa, noted that since similar awards are being held in Europe, Asia and America, developments in the card and e-payment across Africa need to be recognised.

Also a Director with eTranzact Global South Africa (Pty) Limited, Lincoln Boweni, who received the Best Mobile Payment Initiative of the Year on behalf of his company, encouraged key stakeholders in the e-payment industry across Africa to celebrate success stories as the African electronic transaction industry has come of age.

The Executive Director, Diamond Bank Nigeria Plc, Uzoma Dozie, while receiving the Best Credit Card Product of the Year and Best Co-Branded Card Product of the Year, said that Diamond Bank is happy to receive the awards, which will further encourage the bank to focus on providing excellent customer experience across all electronic channels.

He posited that the banking industry in Africa must come together to embrace initiatives like this so that together we can make the continent the pride of all.

The organizer of the awards, Intermac Consulting, a firm involved in creating platforms for the promotion of e-payment and e-banking systems across Africa, said the aim of the awards is to recognise and reward excellence and cutting –edge innovation in the card and electronic payment market in Africa.

“This is the trend in Europe where Cards Awards (Europe) is hosted annually in London and in Asia, where card awards is hosted yearly. Unlike other parts of the world where such companies are recognized for their research and development roles, and turning out new innovations, in Africa we don’t do that. So, we can now change that in Africa and do even better what the stakeholders are doing in other places. This first one held in Johannesburg, was a huge success because we had people from Ghana, South Africa, Congo, Zimbabwe, all over Africa, with the call for support to this initiative.

CePPA recently featured 12 categories of awards with the Congo subsidiary of Access Bank, winning the Best Debit Card Product of the Year award. The Best Mobile Payment Product award was won by Fundamo (PTY) South Africa, while DrawCard, South Africa won the Best Alternative Payments Programme award. Master Card emerged as the winner of the Best Security and Authentication Programme.

Other awards were Best Card Processor of the Year won by HPS Worldwide, Morocco; Best POS Integrator of the Year won by Transaction Payment System (TPS) Zimbabwe; and Industry Personality of the Year won by Mr. Jose G. Matos, Chief Executive Officer, Emis Angola.

The 12 award winners emerged through an online voting system on the Card and e-Payment Africa Awards website and was supervised by a panel of judges comprising six industry experts from the card and e-payment sector across Africa.

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