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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Telecoms facilitates socio-economic integration – Ligali

Chief Executive, Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Bayo Ligali has said that telecommunications could facilitate socio-economic integration with emerging technologies, which is capable of boosting the economy with N951.3 billion in the next five years.

Delivering a keynote address at the graduation ceremony of the executive programmes of the Lagos Business School (LBS), at the weekend, Mr. Ligali, described Nigeria as very interesting market, both for the telecommunications operators and for the economy as a whole.

According to him, despite the huge successes made thus far in the telecommunications industry in terms of roll out and penetration, Nigeria still has a large addressable market yet untapped.

He stressed that mobile telephony, for instance, plays a very critical role through Mobile Money Transfer Market (MMTM), which is expected to create revenue opportunity of almost $8 billion, about N951.3 billion by 2012.

This is in addition to having an enthusiastic regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as well as well-educated and trainable workforce, which he said, make human capacity relatively easy to access for new entrants.

He also said that with a large degree of certainty, Nigeria still has a large addressable market yet untapped, especially at the Bottom of Pyramid (BoP), this market has value which operators acknowledged and hoped to harness through innovative service offerings.

Mr. Ligali equally said that one key area where telecommunications especially mobile telephony would play a very central role would be in the Mobile Money Transfer Market, which he pointed out is expected to create revenue opportunity of almost $8bn by 2012; from just over $10m in 2006.

As said by him, the partnership between operators and financial services companies will revolutionize financial transactions in Nigeria with attendant social benefits.

He cited the infoDev recent reports which stated that the value of developing a market for micro-payments or m-commerce is that it drives the economic system towards a cashless transaction environment with the attendant advantages such as less opportunity for fraudulent or criminal activity and reduction of cash handling costs.

Again, Mr. Ligali stressed that such payment systems would ensure the inclusion of a large percentage of people that will ordinarily not use banks into the banking system.

The GSM Association (GSMA) and Western Union, he added, are working towards enabling the development of cross border mobile money transfer services.

While locally, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo was recently quoted as saying that there are 17 million Nigerians in the diaspora, and their remittances are expected to play a key role in generating the reserves that will aid Nigeria in attaining the now Vision 2020.

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