Pointing out South Africa’s clickatell.com anti-Nigerian Policy

sa-nigeria-flagsRecently, Nigeria and South Africa had a row that would have degenerated into something else, if the South African Government did not apologize.

I said to people around me that MTN Nigeria alone is enough reason for the South African government to apologize. A row with Nigeria might also affect the fortunes of the 10 billion Naira a month SA company. But the truth is that apart from MTN, there are other South African companies making serious money in Nigeria and one of such company is clickatell.com, a South African mobile solutions company.

Before sharing my clickatell.com story let me say this:

I have a number of South African friends but I hate it when their country tries to play holier than thou with Nigeria. I agree that Nigeria is a country without direction and this is due to both failure in leadership and follower-ship.

However, South Africa in my opinion would have been in worse shape than Nigeria, if not for their multi-racial characteristics, unlike in the case of Nigeria, the Zulus have a check on Xhosa, while the Boers have a check on the Coloureds etc. This is really helping the Nation tremendously.

But, is this enough reason for them to keep treating Nigeria / Nigerians terribly?

How else can you explain that a South African company with a registered office in Nigeria does not allow Nigerians to pay with credit cards neither have they made provisions to accept local bank deposits?

The case of Nduka Obaigbena of Thisday Newspapers and how he was forced out of South Africa is a typical example of a continuous negative attitude towards Nigeria. How many Nigerian companies are playing big roles in that country? Treating Nigerian businesses unfairly happens not only in SA but also in China, India, and many other countries of the world.

A look at the clickatell.com contact page reveals a company with only 4 registered offices in the world and they proudly show their Nigerian office address as 7th Floor Marble House 1 Kingsway Road, Falomo Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria, yet internally they don’t trust Nigeria enough to transact business locally. Isn’t this double standards of some sort?

If not, how else can one explain this sort of policy?

It’s a big shame to our Government and policy makers that a company such as a Clickatell (PTY) Ltd. has this sort of anti-Nigerian policy and there is really no formal way of complaining.

I kind of like prefer paypal.com’s policy which is total – have nothing whatsoever to do with Nigeria. 

clickatell.com will not rent an expensive office in Ikoyi just to count the number of bridges on the Island, obviously not, they are here to make money and to continually make money they are closing new deals or sustaining previous ones, my guess is that some Nigerian banks are connected to one of their numerous SMS APIs and they are smiling to the bank.

So, what plans does clickatell.com have to at least contribute to Nigeria’s growth?

Obviously no plan, because if they had one, then they would change this anti-Nigerian policy.

Let’s look at my personal scenario.

As an SME, my goal is to connect our new website to clicktell’s cantral API, so as to be able to update our clients via SMS at each stage of their order fulfillment process. In other to test the system, I decided to try with 400 sms units which will cost less than N4000. I happily assumed that since they had an office in Nigeria payment was not going to be an issue. Boy, was I wrong?

Email from clickatell.com

I was disappointed to find out that clickatell.com has no plans whatsoever for Nigerian SMEs because of their none provision of suitable payment options. What amazed me most is the email I got from clickatell.com informing me that the only option I had is to do a wire transfer to South Africa – incredible!

South Africa

Now consider this: a wire transfer of N4,000 (less than $30) will cost us an additional fee of almost N5,000 if any Nigerian bank is to execute the transfer for you.

I have done business with numerous South African companies that have no offices in Nigeria and they gladly accept my GTB issued visa card. How come a company that makes money from this country has an anti-citizens policy?

I can make do without clickatell.com and therefore this is my own voice against this policy, whether it is changed or not, I have made my point. If you’re a blogger out there then I urge you to re-broadcast, be the defender of the defenceless.

Now tell me, isn’t clickatell.com’s policy anti-Nigerian and anti small business?

Update: Clickatell.com called to apologize over this incidence and offered to help in anyway possible but I declined.