In a recent interview with Arise TV, Karl Toriola, the CEO of MTN Nigeria, discussed the company’s efforts to make smartphones more affordable and accessible in Nigeria. He highlighted the challenges and opportunities in the Nigerian market and outlined MTN’s strategies to promote digital inclusion.
Toriola acknowledged that device affordability is a significant barrier to digital inclusion in Nigeria. He noted that while the cost of smartphones has decreased globally, the upfront cost remains a hurdle for many Nigerians. He also highlighted the potential of local assembly and financing schemes to further reduce the cost of smartphones. He explained, “Local assembly does a number of things. First of all, it can bring down the cost of production, it eliminates custom duties and then you talk about financing handsets and for that financing ecosystem to work you need to have aggregate credit scoring history to know who to loan to, recovery capabilities etcetera etcetera.”
He revealed that MTN is already partnering with several companies in Africa to develop this financing ecosystem. He believes that this approach, combined with mobile money and credit scoring, can make smartphones more affordable for Nigerians.
MTN’s partnership with Intelligra, an open platform for smartphone financing, is a key part of MTN’s strategy to make smartphones more affordable to the average Nigerian. Intelligra’s expertise in credit access and financing solutions complements MTN’s telecommunications services, creating a synergy that benefits customers. A similar partnership also exists with M-Kopa.
Through this partnerships, MTN customers can choose from a variety of smartphone models and pay for them in installments, making the devices more affordable. This approach not only enhances digital inclusion by making it easier for customers to own a smartphone, but also promotes financial inclusion by providing a form of credit.
MTN’s interest in smartphone financing and digital inclusion, as well as its partnership Intelligra and M-Kopa, reflects a strategic approach to promoting digital and financial inclusion in Nigeria. These initiatives are not only expanding access to smartphones, but also contributing to the broader socioeconomic development of the country.

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