Community Finance Powered Social Trust

Community Finance Powered Social Trust

Rank Africa

1. No Poverty 5. Gender Equality 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

Moni tries to solve a huge problem faced by mobile money agents in Africa with respect to working capital. The mobile money businesses are majorly established in areas where there is a shortage of bank’s infrastructures like branches and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

Authors

Idris Olayinka Bello

Idris Olayinka Bello

Femi Adeniyi

Femi Adeniyi

School

TIAS School for Business and Society

TIAS School for Business and Society

Professor

Mirjam Minderman

Mirjam Minderman

Innovation

The agents have access to POS machines and software provided by a bank or a licensed Mobile Money Operator but are faced with issues around the capital to run the business efficiently. Providing cash flows to keep the business going is what Moni is trying to solve using technological innovations and enabling the Agents to further distribute financial services and products to SMEs and other consumers across the African continent.

Financial institutions in Africa rely on data that are not comprehensive to make accurate decisions on financial services. With this level of incomplete data, millions of Africans are deprived of access to finance considering the available credit score reports and financial history. This majorly affects SMEs in scaling up the businesses they started. They are only able to grow the businesses with personal capital or supports from families and friends. Also, the provision of collaterals by SMEs is another hindrance to accessing financial services as the businesses are managing to grow and do not have the high-level collaterals usually being requested by banks.

Moni operates as an expanding invite-only network where all new users are invited and guaranteed by existing members to access financial services like credit, insurance, and more. It is in the interest of each member to maintain their social reputation while taking a joint liability for every credit facility taken by each of the members.

The concept of social trust is an age-long concept in Africa where members of a community come together to influence support for other members in need within the community. Moni has modernized this through technological innovations that would positively impact the lives of the lower class in Africa.


Inspiration

Mr. Femi Iromini and Mr. Adedapo Sobayo, co-founders of Rank Africa, were developing a Peer-to-Peer financing solution when they discovered that due to the poor credit data management system in Nigeria, many SMEs could not access loans from banks and providers of financial services. This limitation has inhibited the start or growth of some SMEs. The work of Mr. Iromini and Mr. Sobayo to solve this problem gave birth to the SME financing solution called “Moni”. Moni was tailored towards the need of mobile money agents as they found the financing problem very pressing amongst them. Mobile money gained more popularity in Africa due to insufficient banking infrastructures and the banking transaction limitations resulting from the COVID pandemic. The use of a combination of technology and social trust to certify financing beneficiaries and operating in business clusters brought uniqueness to the offerings of Rank Africa through its “Moni” product to SMEs. Through providing financing to SMEs, Rank Africa is committed to contributing to the prosperity of Africa, starting with Nigeria and The Republic of Benin, both in West Africa. In the words of Mr. Sobayo, “the objective of Rank Africa through Moni is to solve the problem of financing for SMEs by offering solutions tailored to them”. The tailored financing solution for mobile money agents is the first of the offerings of Rank Africa through Moni. Also according to the CEO, Mr. Femi Iromini, “Women are more reliable when it comes to money due to their commitment to the wellbeing of their family”. He also added that the participation of more women is also due to the community/neighborhood nature of the mobile money business.

Leveraging on their experience in Financial Risk Management, the founders were able to develop a reliable combination of algorithms and underwritings that is robust and reliable in determining the eligibility of applicants and the amount they qualify for. The process is seamless and can be completed within minutes provided that all Know Your Customer (KYC) conditions are met. Beneficiaries get the opportunity to access more funds as their rating based on past transactions is more than satisfactory.

Overall impact

Moni in the last ten months had grown from servicing three Mobile Money Agents to servicing 150+ agents across seven states in Nigeria and The Republic of Benin. There is a target to service 5,000 agents before the end of 2021.

Also, the business community it serves currently continues to grow in terms of transaction turnovers which in turn improves the economic condition of the agents. The agents from having five transactions daily due to financial constraints can now conveniently run over 100 transactions in a day and even more.

In the short term, mobile money agents are able to stabilize and service more customers while improving on the brand. While in the long term, the agents can diversify into providing other financial service solutions. Also, Moni would have the access to data of customers of the mobile money agents and be opened to credit directly from Moni that suits their own personal needs.

While focusing on growing the business in Nigeria and The Republic of Benin, the intention of Rank Africa is to scale up its services across the African continent. It intends to expand into other West African countries with similar market structures in the second quarter of 2022.

Business benefit

Moni had disbursed over 2,000 loan tickets since inception with an average ticket size of $530 per agent and 0% NPL (Non-Performing Loan). This was achievable based on the social trust that had been built into the communities and the reliability of the screening algorithms.

Social and environmental benefit

SDG 1 and SDG 9 - Through Moni, Rank Africa has been able to provide financing for Mobile Money agents thereby engendering job creation and contributing to eradicating poverty in Africa. While its objective is to provide financing to SMEs, it has only launched its first product that addresses the financing problem for mobile money agents. Moni has been able to achieve this through its transparent and simple processes, flexible loan tenures and competitive rates with the use of technology. More than 150 mobile money agents are currently being financed with a target to finance 5000 agents before the end of 2021.

SDG 5 - As part of its efforts towards gender equality in the mobile money business, Moni has been committed to empowering women and this is validated by over 70% of its current clientele being women. According to the CEO, Mr. Femi Iromini, “Women are more reliable when it comes to money due to their commitment to the wellbeing of their family”. He also added that the participation of more women is also due to the community/neighborhood nature of the mobile money business.

SDG 8 - Mobile money agents are also empowered to “achieve more” through “Moni” as agents can access more money (e-float loans) as their rating grows with Moni. This enables them to be able to increase their revenue and keep their business running thereby resulting in economic growth for the agents. Mobile Money agents, within a short period, can finance more mobile money transactions thereby increasing the revenue and improving the earnings of the agents. A mobile money agent financed with $200 by Moni makes an average of $25 per week while paying Moni $3. This is higher than the government-approved minimum wage.

SDG 17 - Moni is leveraging synergies and collaboration with partners in the finance and insurance sector to help mobile money agents achieve more and deliver value to their customers. Such partners include operating banks, money disbursement agents like Monify, Paystack Payments Limited, and TangerineLife Insurance. These collaborations have been instrumental for the achievements of Moni within a short period of time.

Interviews

Femi Iromini, Founder

Adedapo Sobayo, Founder

Photo of interviewee

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Rank Africa

Rank Africa

Lagos, Lagos, NG

Business Website: https://rank.africa/

Year Founded: 2020

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Moni is a financial solution product using technological innovations to support mobile money agents in Africa. The product provides access to financial services to these agents using a community-based model that is based on social trust. Moni is one of the numerous bouquets of products rolled out by Rank Africa, a financial services company adopting full technology in making financial solutions simplified for all sectors and promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria.