Innovation Telecoms

Telcos partner to drive Africa’s digital payments


Two of Africa's largest mobile operators and mobile money providers have partnered to enable interoperable payments across the continent. Orange and MTN Groups, announce the joint venture, culminating in the introduction of Mowali (mobile wallet interoperability), to Mowali makes it possible to send money between mobile money accounts issued by any mobile money provider, in real time and at low cost.

Mowali, a digital payment 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.

Stéphane Richard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orange, said by providing full interoperability between platforms, Mowali would provide an important step forward that would 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," Richard said.

He said the solution embodied 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," Richard said. Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO of MTN, said the partnership with Orange would enhance the attainment of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals related to eliminating extreme poverty and enhancing socio-economic development.

Mobile Special Group Association (GSMA) supports the Mowali initiative as interoperability at this scale is a key accelerator for financial inclusion and Mobile Money usability across Africa. "The GSMA is proud to support its development," said Mats Granryd, GSMA Director General.

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