"Sierra Leone is about half the size of Zimbabwe, so assuming the same cost per head, we could easily be looking at a $25 million spending spree just to blitz the market and build the distribution network to support our services," Osei-Antwi added.
Nonie believes sales promotions are needed, including long-term investments by mobile money companies for as much as $100,000 to $250,000 for subsidizing purchases made with mobile money.
Also, a new idea like mobile money needs an ecosystem of institutions championing it and encouraging people and organizations to give it a try, said Osei-Antwi. As with most new technologies, there will be early adopters, but most people will need some time to build trust in the mobile money services before giving them a try.
"I have no doubt that mobile money will change the face of Africa's financial services sector within the next 10 years," Osei-Antwi said. "As we've already seen, things will pick up faster in some countries than others. For Sierra Leone, I think the growing credibility from working with organizations like NPA, DSTV, government institutions, international NGOs and others will help us to really penetrate the market this year."