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Nigeria is widely viewed as coming late to the mobile money revolution that swept East Africa in the 2010s. But transferring money today in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, could scarcely be easier — shopkeepers, tradespeople, department stores, satellite TV companies, and nearly every other merchant accepts payment via mobile phone transfer.
That’s in large part thanks to Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), which, under the leadership of Segun Agbaje, helped popularize money transfers based on unstructured supplementary service data, a communications protocol used for mobile financial services. The industry has since moved into app-based transfers, and the Nigerian central bank recently approved the first licenses for mobile wallets, the latest step in a digital revolution transforming banking across the continent.