MTN, Orange Collaborate To Target 338 Million Mobile Money Users In Africa

“One of MTN’s goals is to accelerate the penetration of mobile financial services in Africa, Mowali is one such vehicle that will help us achieve that objective."

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Mobile Money - Two smartphones show the currencies of Africa. Between: A map of the continent in black with the inscription "Mobile Money". Background: red. (Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com)

Orange Group and MTN Group, today announced a joint venture focusing on mobile wallet interoperability to enable interoperable payments across Africa.

Africa’s two largest mobile operators and mobile money providers has created Mowali

Mowali is a digital payment infrastructure that connects financial service providers and customers in one inclusive network. It functions as an industry utility, open to any mobile money provider in Africa, including banks, money transfer operators and other financial service providers.

It makes it possible to send money between mobile money accounts issued by any mobile money provider, in real time and at low cost.

The infrastructure will immediately benefit from the reach of MTN Mobile Money and Orange Money, bringing together over 100 million mobile money accounts and mobile money operations in 22 of sub-Saharan Africa’s 46 markets.

Mowali is ready to enable interoperability between digital financial service providers beyond MTN and Orange operations and markets, to support the existing 338 million mobile money accounts in Africa.

The objective of Mowali is to increase the usage of mobile money by consumers and merchants.

 “by providing full interoperability between platforms, Mowali will provide an important step forward that will allow mobile money to become a universal means of payment in Africa. Increasing financial inclusion through the use of digital technology is an essential element in furthering the economic development of Africa, particularly for more isolated communities,” said Stéphane Richard, chairman & CEO of Orange.

Orange Money
Orange Money

“By joining forces with another of Africa’s market leaders, MTN, we aim to accelerate the pace of this transformation in a way that will change the lives of our customers by providing them with simpler, safer and more advantageous services.”

The platform enables money to circulate freely between mobile money accounts from any operators in all countries. From the customer’s point of view, this means “I can pay or receive money anywhere from my mobile account regardless of my operator”.

The system will unlock further innovation in the digital financial space within the continent.

“One of MTN’s goals is to accelerate the penetration of mobile financial services in Africa, Mowali is one such vehicle that will help us achieve that objective. Furthermore, co-operation and partnerships that help us accelerate the pace of development and overcome some of the scale, scope and complexity of challenges that society faces are key,” said Rob Shuter, Group CEO of MTN.

MTN Mobile Money
What is MTN Mobile Money? (Photo Credit: Graphic Online)

“This partnership with Orange is, therefore, an important step in helping us play a meaningful role in supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals related to eliminating extreme poverty and enhancing socio-economic development in the markets we operate in and beyond. Thus giving our customers access to a bright, digital future.”

The GSMA supports the Mowali initiative as interoperability at this scale is a key accelerator for both financial inclusion and Mobile Money usability across Africa.

“Today, there are over 690 million mobile money accounts around the world. Mobile money services have become an essential, life-changing tool across Africa, providing access to safe and secure financial services but also to energy, health, education and employment opportunities,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.

“The creation of Mowali will help to further transform mobile financial services throughout the African region. It demonstrates the mobile industry’s continued leadership and commitment to driving financial inclusion and economic empowerment through industry collaboration. The GSMA is proud to support its development.”

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