19 June 2014

PayPal Tires Of Holding Off, Extends Services To Nigeria and Nine New Markets


With mixed feelings, I recently received news of Paypal, a popular payment solution, opening up shop in Nigeria and nine other countries. For years, the "arrogant" company, which shut its services in Nigeria, was clearly rude each time potential clients from blacklisted countries, including yours truly, wrote to their support on why the selective (near ?racistlike) denial of service to countries.

Several reasons were advanced at the time ranging from fraud to outright refusal for no reason at all; however, now and against all expectations, this rude-answering company decides to open up service to these once 'scam-ridden' country(s).

Real Reason Behind The Change Of Heart

Before you go jumping up jubilating at this news, let us consider contentious issues - Why this sudden change of heart? Why would a company that so much loathed business in a particular geographical region suddenly change its mind, even when its initial reason for not being there had not changed at all?

Agreed, history quickly reminds us that the restriction in Nigeria by Paypal was necessitated years ago when some people used the payment platform to defraud buyers on Ebay (which owns Paypal). Following this, millions of people in the region, including yours truly, were denied the service even for legitimate use, and rudely answered when they dared "complain".

What bugs me most is not that Paypal finally opened shop in Nigeria, No! My real issue is that they decide to come in when cyber-crime, the very same lame reason they have always given, is at an all-time high in the region. Would that not drive you to ask: "Why exactly did they refuse to serve these countries in the past? Was it really because of internet fraud, as the clearly haughty and supercilious Paypal claimed in the past? And if truly it was because of internet fraud, why then have they come in at a time when internet fraud seems to be at its peak?

I am convinced the answer lies in one of the most mundane of all human emotions, greed, that never-satisfying appetite to grab more and more of what you already have; but who wouldn't seeing that Nigeria alone is now the most vibrant and biggest market in Africa (also see this recent BBC report on Nigeria's current economy),  and continuing in their previous lie would mean shooting themselves in the leg.

Rupert Keeley, the Paypal executive in charge of EMEA region, on Monday June 16th while announcing the news puts it this way:
Starting from today we will be rolling out PayPal to ten new markets, taking the total number of markets we serve to 203.

Why these markets and why now, you might ask? It takes a lot of careful planning and preparation to enter a new market, and we take our responsibility to manage people’s money very seriously. We believe we can seamlessly integrate these markets into our platform and provide the investment and resources needed in things like customer service. More importantly, we believe there is demand. Demand for a safer way to pay and take part in the global commerce revolution.
You may wonder if I have anything against Paypal. Nothing, I assure you, absolutely nothing at all. It is just that I find it disgusting and hypocritical that a company, which preached self-righteousness by its actions, would now turn back to "lick up" its own vomit when it seems fit for it; "fit" meaning not loosing out on a large share of the now enlarging, and burgeoning, online payment markets as a whole, but especially that of Nigeria.

The Ten Newly Added Countries

Starting Tuesday June 17th, Nigeria, which has 60 million internet users and Africa’s largest online population [according to statistics from US Census Bureau, International Telecommunications Union (Geneva) and Euromonitor], along with nine other markets in sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe), Eastern Europe (Belarus, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Monaco) and Latin America (Paraguay) will be able to make payments through PayPal.

A total of 80 million Internet users stand to gain access to PayPal global services this week in the five European, four African and one Latin American markets listed above, with Nigeria having a huge chunk of the market.

People in the 10 countries with internet access and a bank card authorised for Internet transactions will now be able to register for a PayPal account and make payments to millions of sites worldwide.

At this time, I would very much love to appreciate all those payment solutions and processors who, despite incessant cyber-crime in these areas, stood sure and faithful to users all these years, not giving in to whimsical and offensive reasons that tend to belittle the brilliance and intelligence of those that hear it, as in the case of Paypal.

I appreciate them all, from the banks who fought and continue to fight the online menace of internet fraud to the the many processors like SolidTrust Pay, OkPay, IPayout, Perfect Money, Payeer, and the rest who did not resort to rash tendencies to express themselves. Well done to them all!

What Now for Paypal?

I certainly would not go about celebrating the news of Paypal coming into Nigeria and the other nine countries for two obvious reasons.

First is that the company will offer only “send money” services for consumers to pay for goods and services at PayPal-enabled merchant sites outside these regions. Thus, you cannot undertake any peer-to-peer transaction, meaning you cannot send money to anyone except merchants, who by the way cannot be local ones, because Paypal has not yet enabled local merchants in the so-called "new markets" to receive payments.

I am no economist, but what this means is that all your spendings will take your money away from your economy, with none spent locally, causing capital flight.

A second, and very obvious reason, is that Paypal has simply smelt the competition closing in on them and is just trying to gain a good market share. For years, people consistently petitioned Paypal to lift their ban, but they did not budge. So what changed? Unfortunately for them, I know what changed - where they used to look like "untouchables", they now feel the searing heat of competition right up their arse (forgive my language!).

Anyway, Africans in general, and Nigerians in particular, have always been known for their hospitality and geniality to friends and enemies alike, so Nigerians (and the other nine countries) say "Welcome". Even though you had readily, hastily and rashly turned your back on us, yet we welcome you back!


  1. Gbam! and exactly like i thought - precise and to the point! Well done ikeena

    1. Hello Anonymous, good to know we have the same thoughts on this issue. Thanks!

  2. I.K, although it seems you're sore at them for the rudeness from their support, yet you have made some valid observations. I hear you

    1. Hello Kool T, good to hear from you anytime anywhere. But I need to clarify something - I'm not sore because of their past "rude" customer support attitude, NO! The issue here is not even whether I am sore or not, NO!

      The issue is their hypocritical behavior and lack of sincerity, one minute talking from the left side of their mouth; and the very next minute, talking from the right side. Tell me, what has changed so far in online fraud in Nigeria and the other regions they are expanding to? Instead, internet fraud is even on the increase in these areas. So tell me, why should they come in now, if at all? That sort of hypocrisy, to me, is detestable!

  3. Ikenna, i have followed your blog but have never commented. This time around, i will because though you raised good and valid points, yet you are not totally right. While it was good that Nigeria took its rightful position of having the largest economy in Africa by virtue of its vast skilled human, material and mineral resources, a lot of work still needs to be done. Even Nigerian companies tend to be much smaller than their counterparts in South Africa and other countries, highlighting the huge development deficit in Nigeria, as well as opportunity for growth.

    Nigeria remains significantly underdeveloped in terms of basic infrastructure (electricity, roads, etc) and faces very high income inequality. While Nigeria’s economy has grown by at least 6 percent a year since 2006, according to the World Bank, the most recent poverty survey by the NBS shows that 61 percent of Nigerians are living on less than a dollar a day. I can continue the examples non-stop. However, the point I am making is that many companies would not prefer to deal in Nigeria because of huge obstacles from the economy, government and nation.

    Let us give Paypal a chance. Perhaps their presence would end up creating greater number of jobs than is presently on ground and drive the economy a little bit more than is being driven. Aside these, I commend you on your frankness and for taking bold stands on issues.

    1. Hello Arewa, I am a true African to the core - very hospitable and friendly to all visitors, no matter their background or past history. My last paragraph above actually did welcome them, did it not? Of course, they are welcome, but must learn to call a spade a spade. Thanks, though, for your compliment.

  4. ikenna i see your points, but like your article says, we're africans so let's forgive and welcome them. But seriously speaking, this is a good start. I pray that in future, they will expand their services because only sending payments out is serious incomplete service.

  5. I feel you bros

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