Mobile-Phone2-11-300x225Nigeria’s Mobile payment service, Paga is arguably the fastest growing mobile money service in Africa, growing much faster than M-Pesa, its counterpart in East African countries in their first year of commercial operations.

The company’s CEO, Tayo Oviosu, told the service which officially launched its commercial and marketing operations in September 2011 announced that it witnessed a 790% growth in its first year in terms of users.

“User base has grown impressively – we started this year with 40,363 users (after 10 months operating in 2012) and as of time of writing have 359,197″, said Oviosu.

Paga has since set a target to reach 40 million active users by 2015, but with its current monthly growth rate averaging about 50,000 users per month, it would only have about 2 million users by 2015.

However, when compared to M-Pesa’s first year of operations, it seems Paga’s numbers look impressive, as according to the report, M-Pesa Kenya went from 170,000 users (3 months of operations) to 1.3 million users, representing 691% growth, while M-Pesa Tanzania went from 100,000 users (7 months of operations) to 280,000 users, representing a 180% user growth.

Paga also revealed that its team has grown from 50 people in January 2012 to 120 employees as at December 2012, boasting staff in 11 different states in Nigeria. With 525 agents in January 2012, Paga reports that it is ending the year with 1,552 across 23 states.

In terms of transactions and volumes, the service grew by 579%, after processing 19,620 transactions per month in December 2011 to 133,148 transactions by November 2012 and went from N152 million (in volumes)  in December 2011 to N1.3 billion (in volumes) in November 2012, representing a 727% growth.

It has no doubt been a successful year, by all measures for Paga and it is expected that the year 2013 would see more growth from the company and the sector.

With intense competition coming from other mobile money services, most of which are being launched in partnerships between banks and telcos, the success of the mobile money players would largely depend on an aggressive agent network strategy and a grassroot distribution network.

Credit: Techloy