Banking and Financial Services

Type of Investment

Risk Capital

Project Stage
Length of Investment


Investment Overview

A $5m equity investment to support Paga, Nigeria’s market leader in mobile payments and digital financial services, to grow its agent network, operating from kiosks, shops, and pharmacies to deliver a range of financial services, and become a leading player in Nigeria’s transition from a cash to digital payment economy.


The Development Challenge

In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy with a population of 186 million, 42% of the population is financially excluded, and that proportion has been increasing. For 62% of unbanked Nigerians, dealing in the cash economy and lack of essential financial products has held back the poorest in society from creating safety nets and opportunities to get out of poverty. Even as the rate of urban migration rapidly increases, issues with the traditional financial system have excluded a majority of the growing urban population. Women and youth are the most under-served populations, with 47% of women and 53.5% of those aged between 18 and 25 financially excluded, compared with 37% of men.


The Innovation

Paga is Nigeria’s market leader in mobile payments and digital financial services that is driving financial access and usage for the mass market. Paga brings financial services closer to the mass market by using a large and rapidly growing agent network (small kiosk shops, pharmacies, etc.) to deliver a variety of financial services including P2P money transfers, transfers to bank accounts, bill payments, airtime purchases, receiving remittances, savings, and continuing to introduce deeper financial services through its platform. These types of digital financial services offered to the mass market and increasing the usage of mobile money can play a powerful role in promoting inclusive growth.


Our Investment

GIF made a $5m dollar preferred equity investment into Paga’s 2018 Series B round alongside Omidyar Network and Goodwell Investments. Our investment is supporting Paga to increase its country-wide footprint of agents to promote financial inclusion in Nigeria and to drive usage of a mobile wallet and other digital financial services for these customers that help transform Nigeria into a digital financial ecosystem. We are also supporting Paga to use its market leader position to positively influence system-wide change, both in the market and in terms of regulation, while enabling other promising financial inclusion technologies to flourish.


Investment Objective

Increase the country-wide footprint of Paga agents in Nigeria to promote financial inclusion in Nigeria and drive usage of a mobile wallet and other digital financial services. Using a market leader position to positively influence system wide change whilst enabling other promising technologies.


Why we invested

Good potential for large social impact by delivering financial services to millions in Nigeria, one of the world’s largest developing countries.

A strong local management team with deep experience operating in Nigeria and a track record of introducing products and services into the market.

Critical inflection point for Paga to achieve long-term scale and impact by de-risking new products and consumer channels that will enable the company to attract larger future investment.

Market leader position creates opportunity to continue to innovate at a large scale and be a voice for Nigeria on the importance of financial inclusion.


PagaTech in numbers

$45 million

In discounted net social benefits generated during the period of GIF's investment


In net social benefits returned for each dollar GIF invested


PagaTech Impact Brief

Paga, a Nigerian mobile money platform, delivers a number of financial services such as person-to-person money transfers, transfers to bank accounts, bill payments, airtime purchases, and remittances, all from a customer’s linked eWallet or bank account or, for customers without a bank account, through a Paga agent in their neighbourhood.

Because mobile money facilitates the safe storage and transfer of money, Paga’s service has the potential to increase net household savings and facilitate timely transfer of small amounts of money during negative shocks, enabling vulnerable households to be more resilient.[1] Furthermore, by expanding the geographic reach of informal risk-sharing networks, Paga should allow more efficient risk-sharing.[2]

Transaction costs, including the fees of having and using a bank account, as well as travel costs to get to the nearest bank, have been shown to be a significant barrier to the use of traditional banking institutions. To achieve financial inclusion, accessibility and affordability of financial services is critical, but distance to the nearest bank ranks as one of the primary barriers to using traditional banking institutions. Paga’s agent network provides a cheaper and more effective means of reaching poor and remote customers, especially in Northern Nigeria where financial exclusion is highest and expanding bank branches is unsustainable.

Use of GIF Funds

GIF’s initial investment in Paga was designed to grow its user base, promote the Paga agent network, and invest in product innovation.

Impact to Date

During 2019, Paga had over 14 million unique users using the platform. Paga decreases the transportation and time costs of receiving money from family and friends, as well as paying bills, which mitigates the need for individuals to spend less time on housework, childcare, and work responsibilities. Average cost savings for rural Paga customers compared to using traditional financial institutions are estimated to be $24 per person annually due to the difference in costs between placing a transaction at the nearest bank versus with the nearest Paga agent.

We estimate that during the period of GIF’s investment, from 2018 to 2020, Paga generated $45 million in discounted net social benefits using information on the cost-savings incurred by rural customers. Accounting for the fact that other investors also invested in Paga, we estimate that $4.9 million in discounted net social benefits was generated by GIF’s investment alone. GIF’s investment in Paga has returned over $1.13 in net social benefits to date for each dollar invested by GIF.[3]