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Mercy Corps, MoMo Agent to deliver cash transfers in Yobe State, North-East Nigeria

Mercy Corps’ ‘Building Resilience in Complex Crisis (BRICC)’ programme funded by the European Union, has signed a new partnership with Y’ello Digital Financial Services (owners of the MoMo Agent Network), a subsidiary of MTN Nigeria, to efficiently deliver automated cash transfers and provide an avenue for programme participants with or without bank accounts to receive funds. This partnership  will kick-start the use of MoMo Agent in the distribution of conditional and unconditional cash transfers to 14,270 households in Damaturu and Potiskum LGAs in Yobe state.

The European Union is funding Mercy Corps to implement an array of early recovery interventions across North-East Nigeria which involves cash assistance to vulnerable households and young people to help restore and improve livelihoods, making them more resilient to conflict and climate shock and stress. COVID-19 has aggravated the impact of the conflict in the state, affecting market opportunities and increasing unemployment. Of the participants that will be given cash transfers, 1,570 youths will receive funds to help them start a business after undergoing vocational training like automobile repairs, agribusiness, fashion designing, food business, and phone repairs, among others.

Dez Byamukama, BRICC Programme Director, Mercy Corps said, “The major goal of the BRICC programme is to build the resilience of communities, by providing them with the capacity and resources to respond to shocks and stresses, which have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cash supports beneficiaries to respond to their basic needs and survive economic hardship, Automated cash transfer also reduces the cost and security risks associated with the transfer and direct distribution of cash.”

The presence of MoMo agents in communities where BRICC is implemented, means faster and more efficient means of delivering cash transfers without participants having to wait in long queues. With an agent base of over 150,000 across the country, MoMo Agents provide safe, fast, and easy access to financial services for customers through their widespread presence and reliable service.

This partnership with Mercy Corps provides a unique opportunity to extend these benefits to the most vulnerable families in Yobe State and other conflict-affected states in the North East.

Commenting on the collaboration, Usoro Usoro, Chief Executive Officer, Y’ello Digital Financial Services said his organisation is committed to ensuring that every Nigerian is able to seamlessly access financial services for their personal and business needs. “To do this, we constantly seek partnerships to support the financial inclusion strategy of the federal government. We are truly excited about this arrangement with Mercy Corps and the possibilities. With over 150,000 agents spread across the country, we are poised to deliver easy and fast cash transfers to beneficiaries of the programme in Yobe State and other locations within the country where required,” he stated.

EU Head of Cooperation, Tassin-Pelzer Cecile, also commended the initiative, noting that cash transfers are often more efficient and effective than other forms of aid. She said: “Cash provides beneficiaries with the means and flexibility to decide and prioritise their recovery. In many contexts, cash assistance allows more aid to reach the beneficiaries directly. It also supports local markets and economy, laying the foundations for communities’ recovery and resilience. Cash transfers are effective in addressing negative-coping strategies such as poor diets or debts. It is very important that Mercy Corps continuous to work with the government to strengthen the State Social registry of the most vulnerable linking beneficiaries with the social protection programme.”