Africa’s telecom giants Orange Group and MTN Group have announced a joint venture that makes it possible for their customers across the continent to send money via mobile money accounts between one another in real-time and at an affordable cost.
The arrangement will be enabled by Mowali, 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.
Mowali 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.
Mr. Stéphane Richard, the chairman & CEO of Orange, said “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.
“This solution embodies Orange’s ambition to be a leading player in the digital transformation of the continent. 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.”
“One of MTN’s goals is to accelerate the penetration of mobile financial service 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 President and CEO of MTN.
“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.”