Nomanini expands into West Africa with a partnership in Nigeria

Nomanini partners with Aurora VM to build financial inclusion and alleviate poverty in Nigeria

06 JUNE 2014, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA. LAGOS, NIGERIA
Summary
Nomanini today announced their expansion into West Africa, having secured a partnership with Nigerian enterprise Aurora VM. This partnership represents Nomanini’s entry into Nigeria.

Nomanini today announced their expansion into West Africa, having secured a partnership with Nigerian enterprise Aurora VM. This partnership represents Nomanini’s entry into Nigeria, which recently became Africa’s biggest economy.

Even with the growth in GDP, poverty and inequality in Nigeria has widened. The World Bank, in its latest Nigeria Economic Report (NER), notes that Nigeria’s economic growth has not automatically translated into better economic and social welfare for Nigerians. According to this report, 63% of the 169 million people in Nigeria still live in poverty.

Nomanini's core business of facilitating cash transactions in informal markets is well-aligned with Aurora's goal of alleviating poverty in Nigeria. Aurora will use Nomanini's technology to enable self-employment opportunities to empower women and unemployed youth to alleviate poverty in Nigeria.

"Nigeria represents a key market in Africa. It is the continent’s biggest, and by some estimations, most dynamic market. We are delighted that, together with Aurora VM, our solutions are providing opportunities for women and youth," says Nomanini CEO Vahid Mondajem.

Nomanini is a Cape Town-based technology solutions provider that builds tools to facilitate cash payments in informal markets.

Nomanini's hardware enables traders in the informal economy to sell prepaid mobile services, prepaid utility services and can be used as a cash collection point for microloans, microinsurance and mobile money. Vendors provide these services to their communities by utilising Nomanini’s portable point of sale terminals which are easy to use, fully mobile, and which have been specifically designed for use in informal markets. Nomanini’s technology enables local clients like Aurora to customise its technology for their regions.

Aurora VM is a Nigerian women-run social enterprise that was formed in 2013. Aurora currently consists of eight women. They have come together as change agents for a single goal: to reach out to the underprivileged, specifically empowering women and unemployed youth, to alleviate poverty in Nigeria.

Aurora’s first initiative is to introduce airtime vending solutions for the informal sector in Nigeria. This initiative specifically targets the economic empowerment of traditionally ostracised females - widows, abandoned wives, the uneducated - in the first phase of the programme.

Prepaid in Africa

The most widely traded virtual commodity in Africa is prepaid mobile service. There are over 120 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria, 97% of which are prepaid. At present, prepaid distribution is achieved via trade in physical scratch cards primarily because they are easy to use and relatively quick to trade. However, their production is costly and they effectively leave informal entrepreneurs with little profit as they are at the end of a very long distribution chain.

Nomanini’s technology makes this process more efficient and cost effective. It puts the informal entrepreneur at the heart of the process. In addition, this provides more people in remote areas with access to these basic services at a fair price.

“The most commonly used form of prepayment in Nigeria is scratch cards. We were looking for a better form and researched POS terminals used both in Nigeria and abroad as an alternative. Unfortunately, they generally have a steep learning curve and are difficult to operate. What we wanted was a simple and quick solution that satisfied all our needs and Nomanini offers us this.” says Aurora CEO, Iyabode Uko.

Local enterprises and grassroots entrepreneurs use Nomanini's solution to earn extra income. By doing so, they also provide their communities with convenient, reliable and safe access to essential mobile and financial services.

More about Aurora

The young female professionals who make up Aurora VM are from various fields including telecommunications, real estate, travel and hospitality, food and beverage, academia, banking and insurance.

“Aurora is a partnership of common ideas, celebrating our diverse backgrounds by synergizing talents, experiences, skills and resources to bring about positive change in individual lives as well as the economy, while redefining the perception of the power of women in business,” says Aurora CEO, Iyabode Uko.

Mrs. Uko also notes that while all businesses face challenges, particularly small businesses in emerging economies, it must be acknowledged that these challenges are multiplied for women

“From the pressure of gender stereotypes in the workplace and expected behaviour, to the gender pay gap and unequal compensation for services rendered, women are expected to conform to imperfect ideals. Despite this, it is important to note that women can and do succeed, much as anyone else, and often even exceed expectations. It is this drive to exceed expectations, to tap into that which unites us as women, to pursue our commonly held values of social justice and economic empowerment that has given birth to Aurora.”

Who is Nomanini

Nomanini was founded in 2011 with the vision to foster economic inclusion of the unbanked and underbanked majority. The vast majority of the world’s poor lack access to even the most basic banking services. As a result, important financial services such as personal savings, insurance, credit or cash transfer facilities are rarely available or are very costly for most people.

The main problem is not that the poor have nothing to save but rather that traditional financial service providers have struggled to reach lower income segments due to the unfavourable economics of selling and administering low-value financial services.

Sitting behind the front-end hardware, the complexity of the solution resides in Nomanini's development of supporting software and firmware components. Nomanini builds its backend services using Google's Cloud based data services. Nomanini provides interfaces accessible via web portal to manage voucher procurement, distribution and credit management, providing all the tools necessary for local enterprises to manage their prepaid business.

Nomanini’s solution offers customization across several verticals including vending airtime, electricity or tickets and can also serve as cash-in collection method for mobile money, microloans and insurance premiums. 

Quotes
"Nigeria represents a key market in Africa. It is the continent’s biggest, and by some estimations, most dynamic market. We are delighted that, together with Aurora VM, our solutions are providing opportunities for women and youth" Vahid Monadjem
"The most commonly used form of prepayment in Nigeria is scratch cards. We were looking for a better form and researched POS terminals used both in Nigeria and abroad as an alternative. Unfortunately, they generally have a steep learning curve and are difficult to operate. What we wanted was a simple and quick solution that satisfied all our needs and Nomanini offers us this" Iyabode Uko
"Aurora is a partnership of common ideas, celebrating our diverse backgrounds by synergizing talents, experiences, skills and resources to bring about positive change in individual lives as well as the economy, while redefining the perception of the power of women in business" Iyabode Uko
"From the pressure of gender stereotypes in the workplace and expected behaviour, to the gender pay gap and unequal compensation for services rendered, women are expected to conform to imperfect ideals. Despite this, it is important to note that women can and do succeed, much as anyone else, and often even exceed expectations. It is this drive to exceed expectations, to tap into that which unites us as women, to pursue our commonly held values of social justice and economic empowerment that has given birth to Aurora" Iyabode Uko
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About Nomanini

As the pioneering fintech platform for the informal retail ecosystem, Nomanini connects merchants and distributors to each other and global service providers, integrating payments, working capital, and data analytics to unlock the latent potential of Africa’s economy.

Nomanini turns any mobile device into a retail point-of-sale solution for informal merchants that is connected to an interoperable merchant wallet. The interoperable merchant wallet allows merchants to offer a broad range of digital banking (including cash-in/cash-out), mobile, utility and entertainment services to their customers boosting competitiveness. In turn, digital service providers rapidly increase the scale and reach of their offerings. By generating real-time insights based on transaction data, distributors using the platform gain a single view of their merchant network, ensuring inventory is where it is needed most to improve sales. Distributors can also begin to accept payments for goods electronically, eliminating the risk and inefficiency of collecting cash. With data analytics, Nomanini helps extend working capital loans to merchants via distributors allowing them to invest in inventory to grow their businesses. The increased volume of goods and services set against reduced operational friction increases the profits for all platform participants.

Nomanini was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in South Africa.

For more information, please visit https://www.nomanini.com

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