Banker and Regulator Agree Chat Trading Can Dramatically Change Financial Inclusion in Nigeria

Clickatell (, the leader in chat commerce and enterprise messaging, spoke with attendees at Clickatell’s annual Connect Interact and Transact (CIT) event earlier this month about the how they could drive financial inclusion and achieve their revenue goals by embracing chat commerce. The event took place at the Radisson Blu, Anchorage in Lagos with industry experts from Clickatell, Ecobank and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sharing ideas and advice with an audience of business and technology.

Werner Lindemann, Clickatell’s senior vice president of enterprise sales, growth markets, began by highlighting how global brands, like Amazon and Uber, have built their entire business model on convenience commerce – where businesses find ways to provide services and products to their customers. wherever they are and at a time that suits them.

Lindemann went on to explain that the best way to reach customers where they are is on their phone. However, he said apps have a very limited lifespan, saying the average customer only regularly uses five apps on their phone. He advised instead of focusing on building apps, brands should look to leverage the power of chat, especially as WhatsApp is the most widely used social media platform (https:// in Nigeria. Additionally, when combined with USSD, businesses will be able to reach almost anyone in the country.

The power of Chat Commerce is particularly relevant to the Nigerian banking industry and Lindemann shared that banks can now onboard new customers and enforce Know Your Customer (KYC) standards using chat, which means banks can serve customers all over the country, in real time.

Lindemann shared other use cases where Clickatell had dramatically changed the way businesses in Southern Africa interacted with their customers, including:

  • How a national retailer was able to reduce its production and distribution of wide format printing from $5 to just 3 cents
  • How this retailer now has a 40%-70% engagement rate on product promotions using WhatsApp, compared to 3% on SMS
  • How a national retailer is now using WhatsApp to enable self-service for its loyalty program and eliminated over 20,000 calls to the call center per month to block or replace loyalty cards
  • How a national healthcare chain is now allowing customers to order and arrange collection of their chronic medications at the nearest point of sale, wherever they are in the country
  • How a Southern African low-cost airline enables travelers to check in and receive their boarding pass on the WhatsApp channel

An engaging panel discussion followed the keynote, introduced by Clickatell General Manager for West Africa, Samson Isa and moderated by Uzo Nwani, Commercial Director of Clickatell.

Opening the discussion, panelists highlighted how their organization had used technology to drive inclusivity. For CBN, this was achieved through its introduction of the digital currency eNaira. For Ecobank, its decision to offer a WhatsApp channel has made it easier for them to reach their customers. And for Clickatell, it’s the company’s drive to help banks in Africa improve their reach by moving to the most ubiquitous chat channel.

“One in three Nigerians is financially excluded. Therefore, the work we have done with Clickatell on the eNaira USSD channel is so exciting. We also rely on eNaira to reduce the cost of remittances as well as reduce the high costs of cash management. We believe that eNaira will drive inclusive growth and make the Central Bank, as an institution, much more effective in carrying out its mandate,” said CBN Deputy Director Stephen Ambore.

Osahon Akpata, Head of Consumer Payments Group at Ecobank, shared the power of mobile with the audience.

“Across 33 countries, Ecobank Group processed $5.1 billion through our mobile app in 2021 and we have built a banking agent network of 110,000 agents, leveraging the ubiquity of mobile devices. Although Chat Commerce is still in its infancy for us, we are developing the platform for better customer service. We’ve integrated artificial intelligence into our chatbot, Rafiki, to help resolve customer queries faster and seamlessly. We also have customers using the chat channel for transactions and we plan to expand its use to product information as well. People are already on these chat platforms, and we aim to serve them with payments where they are,” he said.

Akpata went on to explain that the ability to generate QR codes on the WhatsApp channel, make transfers and purchase airtime has been received with great enthusiasm by Ecobank customers, adding that the chat will be a key part of the bank’s drive to reach its goal of 100 million customers.

CBN will also be looking to chat to connect with people in Nigeria in the future.

“We envision chat to help us provide financial literacy and build inclusion. When it comes to innovation, chat, including USSD, can help us reach new customers and I’m excited for future opportunities, especially at the base of the pyramid,” Ambore said.

Lindemann concluded the proceedings by stating, “We have just launched a project with a large bank with around 15 million active customers, and we will be building a chat banking wallet for them in just six weeks. In my opinion, the chat allows us to accelerate innovation for companies. I believe every business has a responsibility to roll out products that have a real impact on their customers and society, and to see that happen in six weeks is a testament to the power of chat.

For more information on how Chat Commerce will help your business connect, interact and transact with your customers, visit

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Clickatell.

Media contacts:
Nadia Louw
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Andrea Mahoney
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About Clickatell:
Clickatell is the global leader in chat commerce that enables businesses to connect, interact and transact with consumers anytime, anywhere in chat. The feature-rich, low/no-code chat commerce platform sits at the intersection of communications (CPaaS, CCaaS) and commerce (digital payments). Clickatell serves more than 10,000 customers, including Fortune 50 brands. Clickatell is headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, and has offices in Canada, South Africa, and Nigeria. Learn more at

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