Nigerian smartcard maker taps into move from cash to plastic

At a manufacturing plant in Lagos, employees are hard at work. Producing smartcards. Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind other regions in moving away from cash to plastic money. But the need for secure electronic cards carrying sensitive data is rising, especially in the banking sector. SecureID, a Nigerian manufacturing and technology company, is hoping to provide that service. Producing bank cards, mobile phone SIM cards and voting cards. Its founder, Kofo Akinkugbe, started the business 12 years ago. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER, SECUREID, KOFO AKINKUGBE, SAYING: "If I were to go to a bank at that point in time to request for a card, it could take three months to six months for my card to come and so that was the gap I saw in the system and the idea came and the idea was to actually set up a world class manufacturing plant that offers smart card solutions and digital solutions not just for Nigeria but for Africa." SecureID provides smartcards for businesses in 21 African countries. As well as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda have all implemented policies encouraging a move away from cash - To tackle fraud, theft and money laundering. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER, SECUREID, KOFO AKINKUGBE, SAYING: "We would like to strengthen our footprint across Africa, do a lot more things than we are because a lot of our market is still within Nigeria but we feel that the same gap and unmet need we saw 12 years ago in Nigeria, is the same gap that seems to exist in other African countries." Akinkugbe declined to give an estimate of the potential size of Africa's smartcard market. SecureID currently produces 200 million smartcards a year.