Unlocking mobile money interoperability and merchant payments across Africa through Mowali

Orange Group and MTN Group – two of Africa’s largest mobile operators and mobile money providers – have today announced a joint venture, Mowali, to enable interoperable payments across the African continent. The GSMA is proud to support its development.

With over 338 million registered accounts, mobile money is the most widely held type of digital financial service account in Sub-Saharan Africa. The ambition of Mowali is to build on this success, helping Africans to gain access to best-in-class digital financial services through the convenience of their phone.

Launching in early 2019, Mowali will be available to any mobile money provider in Africa. Banks, money transfer operators and other financial service providers are also encouraged to join the Mowali ecosystem to promote the digitisation of payments across the financial services sector.

What is the significance of interoperability for mobile money customers?

Interoperability solutions make it possible to send money between any two financial accounts, transforming the financial landscape for everyday consumers. Greater interoperability of financial services, including across mobile money accounts, stands to accelerate growth in Africa.

The objective of Mowali is to encourage the everyday usage of mobile money by unlocking access to a diverse payments ecosystem beyond the individual user’s own provider. The introduction of a common payments acceptance brand through Mowali will accelerate online and physical merchant payments. International remittances, payroll services, and a wide range of other financial services will also be made easier by the convenience and reach that Mowali will bring to consumers across the African continent.

What does this mean for the mobile money industry?

Mats Granryd, our Director General at the GSMA, reflected on the significance of Mowali for the industry and customers. “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. 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.”

Mowali is owned by Orange and MTN Groups, and the service will be first introduced across Orange and MTN markets throughout Africa. Additional markets and financial services offerings will be introduced as the service expands. This collaborative venture will maximise the experience of both operators, together covering over 100 million registered mobile money accounts and mobile operations in 22 Sub-Saharan African markets.

Learn more about Mowali

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