Better Together: Connecting MFIs in Nigeria

Antonio Separovic, CEO of Oradian, a cloud-based core banking software company, walked into Stellar’s office with his team last year and stated his customers’ biggest problems in a single sentence:

It takes 12 hours and a bus to move money from a microfinance institution (MFI) in Lagos to an MFI in the north of Nigeria.

Microfinance institutions have come online at ever-increasing rates, pumping out mobile interfaces to address their communities’ needs. Yet one critical piece of infrastructure was still missing: MFIs couldn’t send funds back and forth to one another.

Today, we’re thrilled to be part of a step towards connecting MFIs and making interoperability possible. Oradian has announced plans to integrate Stellar into their core banking solution for inter-MFI settlement.

MFI connect the dots image

Nigeria, a giant among us

Oradian’s target market, Nigeria, is not one that Silicon Valley knows particularly well. With 174 million people, it’s the largest economy and most populous country in Africa. A diverse nation full of ethnic and socioeconomic contrast, Nigeria is the 7th most populous country in the world and has one of the world’s largest youth populations. The port city of Lagos is home to one of the fastest growing middle classes. At the same time, almost half of Nigeria’s population is unbanked, with 80% of those people living in rural areas.

Oradian aims to bridge the gap between Nigeria’s burgeoning economy and its unbanked citizens by enabling efficient and reliable financial transactions. In a region overflowing with potential, Oradian’s connected financial software can link previously siloed or isolated markets, bringing services to people who previously couldn’t access them.

The initial pilot will focus on connecting MFIs in Northern Nigeria, a region where 68% of the population is financially excluded. The larger ambition is to bank the bottom billion.

Wake all the giants

At Stellar, we believe that financial access is a critical tool that allows individuals to improve their own lives. Our goal is to increase access to financial services for the poor by enabling local product innovation and ownership. We aim to wake sleeping economic giants like Nigeria.

A big part of that goal involves research: how do we design infrastructure that works for the developing world? We’re always interested in talking to organizations that tackle similar issues. If you’re interested in learning more about us or launching a pilot in your region, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

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