I met a good number of people during my stay in Lagos, Nigeria who wanted to PayPal so bad for things like paying for a Spotify subscription or web developers who needed kick-ass templates from Themeforest.
Then it got to the point of actually opening a petition on Change.org. As to if that contributed to the PayPal’s decision is another story.
Nigerian twitter space’s take on the news broken by Reuters in this post show a good selection of reactions from techies. While we wait for the full service offering from PayPal, especially the peer-to-peer, the Send Money feature is the only one available. In any case, here are some things I see happening in the ecosystem:
We shall spend more money online
Kind of like the elephant in the room but why overlook the obvious? Nigerians already used forwarding addresses, IP, bank transfer, and more complicated and expensive means to shop online from stores and pay for services like Asos, Spotify, Deezer, and Themeforest. PayPal will only make it easier as one would expect online retailers that ship globally and receive payment with the service to start getting lots of orders from Nigeria. Import boom.
PayPal is arguably the leader when it comes to online payment especially in retail. Stripe (invested in by the ex-PayPal mafia) which is already gaining grounds perhaps due it’s focus on developer community and mobile integration was quick to excitedly signify from the tweet below that it too can’t wait to get a piece of the African market. Who’s next? Square?
— Stripe (@stripe) June 16, 2014
Another type of ‘payment’ excuse to emerge
Developers, entrepreneurs, and business people in the local ecosystem are quick to jump to the problem of payment as to why they haven’t launched, business is not growing, and so on and so forth. No doubt the limited edition of PayPal does not really solve most of the payment issues as most entrepreneurs see the merchant feature of more value than the send money feature. I guess I just helped in updating the excuse right there. More of similar tales to ahead.
Tweak mode activated. There is always a way
Nigeria brags of being the most resourceful people on earth especially when it comes to business. Some were making millions of dollars pre-PayPal, and some will make more now that PayPal is here but more impressive is a small amount of people will find a way to work with just the send money feature that it’d tick all the boxes of what a full PayPal service entails. I know my people. Go figure.
Sermonizing ‘Support Local Tech’
This is no longer news and the trend has always been when foreign startups/business come into the space as competition (as if there is some other reason as to why they are here), then the song quickly becomes — support local technology as seen in: Hotels.ng vs Jovago, Konga vs Jumia, …and now Paga (or other local payment service) vs PayPal.
Well I do support local tech and will join in preaching the sermon same way I did when they came to compete with my first startup — EasyAppetite.com but like Mark Essien of Hotels.ng says — “offer quality service to your customers and leverage on local knowledge to stay ahead.” So time for the local and other foreign folks including the banks card services, and even interswitch to sit up. @asemota puts it best:
One good thing that will happen in Nigeria is that payment companies will now learn to be nice and polite. It is very serious business now — Victor Asemota (@asemota) June 16, 2014
Diasporaneurs* just got a market boom
I stayed up all night browsing through my idea pad for business plans that were on hold due to the inability to receive money here in Ireland from potential paying customers in Nigeria. There are many Africans like me in diaspora doing the same thing following the announcement of PayPal’s arrival. The market size is very significant for any startup looking to serve it from the outside. So if you are in a merchant enabled country in Diaspora, time to launch those startup. For some reasons I know Jason Njoku and folks at iROKO will be very pleased with this opportunity.
*Diasporaneurs — diaspora based entrepreneurs.
This was first published as Now that PayPal is here on my Medium.