ENTREPRENEUR | VISIONARY | CEO MONEYIN
With Origins in India and Africa, the visionary and business tycoon ArifEsa was Born and raised in England. Since his childhood, Arif has very closely experienced textile, real estate, and various other businesses. After growing up,Arif followed in the family’s footsteps in the business world and ended up in the finance industry in the Middle East. Arif was interested in raising the financial conditions of developing countries, so he entered the industry with curiosity and the intention to find ways to finance and turn a war-zoned country into a floating opportunity. With his team, Arif worked on getting licences and creating a new financial structure where they raised billions of dollars for the initial countries like Sudan, Ghana, Iraq, Afghanistan and various other regions. These events led Arif to further go into digital banking in Morocco in North Africa and to the rise of moneyIN.
CHALLENGES | IMPROVING SYSTEMS | BENEFITTING LIFE
“We are actually a bit into everything! One of my partners Mr Vineet from India is in the mining sector. He started in the mining sector and is currently building relationships between India and Morocco. On the other side, I am more focused on the digital banking side. That has always been my passion. I have always tried to find ways to benefit people, find an alternative way to transact and ultimately change the banking sector in these countries because these are not developed in terms of infrastructure,” said Mr Esa when asked about his inclination to work in the finance sector over other problems like education and food security.
Although Morocco is a little more developed compared to Latin Africa, looking at the things on the banking side, it is not comparable to countries like India, England or America. It takes 3 to 4 days just to get the money from one bank to another. An international transfer is faster than that, so Mr Esa’s key focus has always been on how to change this system and for the betterment of people.”I want to improve people’s lives without making them pay higher prices for the banking facilities when we can provide them for free. This is my source of motivation that keeps me here and is the biggest reason I chose the finance industry to work over any other sector.” Said ArifEsa.
FINANCE INDUSTRY AS A BYPRODUCT?
TECHNOLOGY | INTERNET | AWARENESS
Various constituentscatalyzedthe growth of the financial sectors in countries like India. The advancements of a country’s financial sector depend upon a plethora of other domains like the availability of the internet, technological advancements, awareness of fintech and people’s spending behaviour. To a more significant extent, anything involving money has a massive role of the safety and trust involved in it. Countries like India have been successfully and digitally transforming their banking and financial activities because of the revolution of technology and the internet that led to various startups like Paytm and GooglePay coming into the market.
When asked about the situation in Africa, Mr Esa says,” Africa is one of the fastest growing mobile digital banking industries in the world. About 70% of mobile transactions occur in Africa, not outside. So people have already started adopting digital platforms in existence. In Tanzania, for example, the digital payment rate is about one hundred per cent, meaning that almost everybody uses the services. However, the impression is not as developed as in countries like Morocco. Morocco has created a much faster system in a short amount of time. The infrastructure is already present, but it is not being used that much because of the constraints from the bodies who control the market.”
Arif believes that informing and educating people about the benefits of digital banking have not been done effectively. People have great internet in place, they have ATMs, and they also want to use online facilities, but nobody knows that such technology and its structure exist because it is not promoted well by the banks.
Arif adds, “We are trying to educate people about this technology by setting up educational centres and working with regional government and banks to educate people that transitioning to digital methods will make people’s lives easier. They will not need to travel to a bank and stand in queues to make a payment. Although we have challenges from many big companies, we also received a lot of support from regional governments that helped us develop much faster. I believe we will be much more successful once our licence gets approved.”
MoneyIN leaders have been working with the South African Ambassador for the past few months, who is doing fantastic work connecting South Africa to Morocco. He also introduced the company to some investment arms in South Africa, ultimately allowing them to expand and take the platform to South Africa. MoneyIN is trying to replicate the same model in Morocco in South Africa. Hopefully, the company will expand from South Africa to the rest of Africa, then European Union and India, creating a unique global ecosystem.
THE UNIMAGINABLE FUTURE
INTEGRATED ECOSYSTEM | GLOBAL FINTECH | SPREADING AWARENESS
“We are creating a platform where we will even connect with our competitors. We will not stop after enabling online transactions to anyone in Africa. Typically banks and finance applications do not allow people to transfer from one mobile wallet to another but what we are creating allows people to do that freely. I believe that it is the first step to making an integrated global banking ecosystem. Although we are trying our best, it is a lot of political work with the governments, regulatory bodies and much more. However, we have successfully created the first stepping stone,” added ArifEsa, talking about MoneyIN’s role in the future fintech. There are hundreds of platforms present in Morocco for various utilities. However, MoneyIN is the first to integrate them so that people do not have to download hundreds of different applications for different purposes.
Upon asking how they deal with convincing people to trust the digital platforms with their money, Mr Esa said, “Everyone asks me this question, especially the banks and regulatory bodies in Morocco. Whenever we have meetings with them, they first ask me how I will convince people because people’s culture, thinking and mentality are different. I feel like if you do not educate people about the benefits of the application, no one will use it. I found that in Morocco, no one is teaching people, and no one is advertising the benefits of these technologies and applications. We have done market research, and our focus is to solemnly inform people about how these technologies will help market vendors, small local businesses, and other people accept payments through a hassle-free process.”
The company MoneyINis marketing the ways in which people can learn to make money using these platforms light through scratch cards, gift coupons and referral points. It will be incredible, enabling people to go out and make instant payments to any merchant stores across North Africa. People can withdraw money from any ATM machine and do not need to wait for days for their transactions to become successful. Exposing all the benefits will convince people to switch to the new platforms.
“I firmly believe that we do not need to convince people. We just need to teach them, which is why we are setting up educational centres to explain what we are doing and how digitalization will help to change their lives for the good. It is hard work, but I believe we can succeed,” adds ArifEsa.
SAILING THROUGH THE RECESSION
INVESTORS | GLOBAL EXPANSIONS | BENEFITTING PEOPLE
Speaking about the current global recession, Mr Arif said,” On our side, the most challenging part has always been additional funds to keep up with expansion that we are doing. Finding new investments is crucial for global expansion, and that is where this recession problem comes in. Nowadays, it is hard to convince investors to park their money into fintech projects, whereas earlier, it was easier. However, that being said, looking at moneyIN, I do not believe that the recession will have a significant negative impact. We are only going to benefit people more since they will be more in control over their money. They can access it whenever they want and save or spend it according to themselves.
The company is also constantly working on the AI technology side of the application, with which the users can be taught to spend and save money and say out of debt. Africa is a cash and debt society because people are always borrowing money and spending more than they already have. If they get an app that teaches them how to pay off their debts and wisely spend their money, it would help everyday communities and businesses to expand and will be highly beneficial to the national economy.
FUTURE TECH TRENDS AND MONEY
VIRTUAL MONEY | NEW TRENDS | RISKS AND REWARDS
Arif believes governments and people have started taking virtual world projects involving currencies more seriously. People have started looking at virtual currencies and investments as more promising options, with the government starting to regulate the processes. Arif added, “Since it is virtual reality, I believe the sector may thrive, but it can also crash. I am always looking for ways to protect the users’ money regarding investments in virtual assets. Nike recently launched virtual reality trainers and sold them for millions of dollars which is unbelievable. I think there is a massive opportunity for humungous returns in the virtual world, but the risks are also relatively high, as happened with Bitcoin. Everything in this world is possible, but it depends on how we choose to react to the change. The real question is whether you really want to live in a virtual world?”