Kenya’s telecoms operators are not the only services that have pursued mobile money interoperability. The development, which went live a couple of months ago, has now been replicated by Africa’s largest mobile operators: MTN Group and Orange Group.
Dubbed Mowali (mobile wallet interoperability), the joint venture will see improved interoperable payments across the continent.
MTN and Orange serve more than 100 million customers in 22 Sub-Saharan Africa states. The carriers operate MTN Mobile Money and Orange Money, and the launch of Mowali targets to enable interoperability between digital service providers beyond their current markets. The product’s bigger picture is to support about 338 million mobile money users in Africa.
Generally speaking, Mowali functions like any other finance tool: it is open to mobile money providers in the content such as banks and allows money transfer services, as well as bill payments and so forth. Additionally, the service looks forward to increasing the use of mobile money services by merchants and consumers.
Mowali functions in the same fashion as Kenya’s interoperability services do: consumers can send or receive funds to/from MTN Mobile Money and Orange Money at a small fee. This means that the funds sent will not be received as a voucher that can only be redeemed at a specified agent; rather they will be deposited to the recipient’s wallet. Users can also make payments regardless of their operators.
According to Stéphane Richard, Chairman & CEO of Orange, Mowali could be a universal means of payments in the continent as it has the potential to unlock further innovation in the digital financial space.
“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,” noted Mr. Richard.
“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. 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.” said Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO of MTN.