Gona, New technology of the Cashless System in Africa.

Gona is a tool for information retrieval & payment for life-service in Nigeria and Africa at large. The Gona initiative was reportedly founded by a group of World Class mobile payment enthusiasts and it provides scalable mobile payment solutions for consumers and merchants.

This relatively new initiative is unique in the sense that it has first come to bring ease for public transport services. A known problem with public transport services in Nigeria is price negotiations for fares and scarcity of Naira notes in smaller denominations that serve as ‘change’ to consumers/customers. Gona’s payment platform is allowing cashless payments in public buses. The first end users of this tool were bus drivers plying select routes of Lagos, Nigeria.

How it works

After a download of the app from a Play Store, there is a Gona wallet that can be funded using a debit card by the user. Drivers are given a unique QR code that is posted at noticeable spots on the bus, so paying for a bus ride will be as simple as scanning a QR code with the app and inputting the number of coins required for the trip.

One of the most popular selected routes where Gona is used is at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Akoka through Yaba Lagos. One unit of coin equals ₦1 (0.2 cents) with Gona so a ride to the UNILAG campus from Yaba costs 70coins. The driver receives an alert of coin credit to his Gona account and can identify the passengers who pay using Gona within minutes on his app. The driver at any time can choose to convert his Gona coins made from passengers to the Naira equivalent and transfer to his bank account. This said to be done at no extra cost. As revealed by Gona Country Manager for Nigeria and co-founder, Noah Gu, the no charge for any service is based on a 3-year focus on user acquisition, hence there is no revenue model for now.

Real Life instance

Many at times, if a passenger is in possession of 500 Naira note to pay for a transport fare of 200 Naira, the driver does not have ‘change’ to give back. This usually causes a brawl between passengers and drivers. And sometimes there’s even more hardship for the passengers on reaching the destination and asking for change, the ‘change seekers’ are paired by the driver to find change amongst them. Gona is definitely an offer of smart, secure and convenient mobile payment services in Nigeria that will be and is easing a lot of Nigerian commuters of stress.

GONA is said to be continuously building upon its technology to avail users with new features and upgrades. In a chat with Techpoint’s team, Noah Gu said “We try to implement new ways of transportation towards delivering certainties to the city’s massive transportation system,” “Scaling the business is the primary focus for now.”

Seeing as there are not so many effective payment platforms it was an apparent decision by Gona founders to go into payments. However, Gona is not only providing an effective payment system for bus drivers, but it’s also working on improving the efficiency of service delivery.

The possibilities of this tool are limitless. From direct timing of trips based on monitoring traffic through the app to paying for fuel at a gas station using Gona coins. This is a very good innovative twist and addition to the cashless system adoption in Nigeria and Africa.

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Credits- Yinka Awosanya

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