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Following the release of its annual report, comparing spending habits between Nigeria and Kenya, Nairametrics interviewed JR Kanu, the founder of REACH, a fintech company.

Highlights of the report

Spending in Nigeria

In terms of payment of bills and utilities, the top 3 vendors where GTB 737 Airtime, FirstBank 894 Airtime and MTN. The typical transaction size was N500.

In terms of bank charges such as Account charges, transfer fees, card issuance, SMS alerts, ATM charges, stamp duty, and all other bank fees, Guaranty Trust Bank led the pack, followed by Zenith Bank, and Diamond Bank in third place. The typical transaction size was N50.

Three banks led in terms of cash withdrawals at ATMs and bank tellers. FirstBank, Diamond Bank, and Zenith Bank. The typical transaction size was N5,000.

Guaranty Trust Bank led Peer-to-peer money transfers, as well as bank transfers used to pay for goods and services. Diamond Bank took the second spot, while FirstBank took the third spot. The typical transaction size was N7,500.

In the Transport category which covers taxis, car fuel, and commuting, the top 3 vendors were Uber, Taxify and Forte Oil. The typical transaction size was N1,600.

Under the restaurant category which encompasses Fast food, fine dining, bars, bakeries, dessert parlours, and all eating in general outside the home, the top three vendors were the Chicken Republic, Domino’s & Coldstone, and The Place. The typical transaction size was N1,850.

For groceries, the top 3 vendors where Shoprite, Spar, and Ebeano. The typical transaction size was N2,810.

Spending in Kenya 

The Kenyan section of the report shows Safaricom and Mpesa, play a key role in financial transactions in the country.

In the Bills and Utilities category which covers Mobile airtime, ISP, electricity, water, and other municipal and bill payments, Safaricom was the top vendor. KPLC comes second, and Telkom comes third. Typical transaction size was 50 Kenyan Shillings.


Sports Betting surprisingly was a key category in terms of spending. SportPesa was first in this category.  Betin Kenya took the second spot and betPawa the third spot. Typical transaction size was 100 Kenyan Shillings.

The grocery segment comprises Supermarkets, convenience stores, sundry shops where consumer goods and household supplies are sold. Naivas came first, Tuskys second and Carrefour third place. Typical transaction size was 650 Kenyan shillings.

The transport category which covers taxis, car fuel, and commuting, Total took first place, Shell the second position and Libya the third place. Typical transaction size was 1000 Kenyan Shillings.

In the Transfer segment which comprises Peer-to-peer money transfers, as well as bank transfers used to pay for goods and services, M-Pesa was the top vendor, followed by PesaPal and KCB. Typical transaction size was 626 Kenyan shillings.

The two countries compared 

In dollar terms, Nigerians spent nearly thrice Kenyans in terms of bills and utilities. While Kenyans spent $0.49, Nigerians spent $1.37.  

Surprisingly, Kenyans spent more on transport than Nigerians, in dollar terms. Typical spending on transport was $9.81 versus $4.41 by Nigerians. Nigerians also spent more on taxi services than Kenyans, a likely indication the East African country has more car usage.  



Excerpts from the interview:

Why the comparison between Nigeria and Kenya?

We like the idea of East vs West. There is a fun friendship between Nigeria and Kenya. The two markets are also key in their own rights.

Why operations in Qatar?

We have plans to go beyond Africa, it was an easy test for us to run. We wanted to enter somewhere we could learn from. Kanu also hinted that the firm will be expanding into other countries in the coming quarter. Reach operates in three countries in Africa: Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

How does the app gather data?

Data is gathered from SMS sitting on the phone registered, as well as transactions manually entered.

What was the methodology of the report?

Reach leveraged on over 8 million unique transactions in order to compile the report. A sample size of 50,000 people was used.

How does reach make money?

Kanu stated that the firm does not sell data in any way, but provides consulting services.

We never pitch data to companies. We do consulting. When companies need to know how to price their goods and services they come to us. When they want to enter a new market they come to us. Think of us as Facebook and Google, but it on the back of big data analytics. After analyzing millions of transactions, here are the patterns we see.


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