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April 11, 2022

On the web

Kenyan Mobile Money Gets Boost in Shift to Seamless Payments


“Kenya’s cellular-phone operators agreed to allow mobile payments across their networks, joining an effort by the central bank to integrate the nation’s payment systems. The first phase of “merchant interoperability” will enable Airtel Networks Kenya Ltd. and Telkom Kenya Ltd. users to pay for goods through Safaricom Plc ’s M-Pesa, the biggest mobile-money platform in the East African country, the three companies said in a statement on Friday.”

Nigeria Grants MTN Licence for Mobile Money Banking Service


“The Central Bank of Nigeria has approved the licence for MTN’s Mobile Money (MoMo) Payment Service Bank in the country, extending its services to wider banking operations, it was announced on Monday. Mobile money is a growing contributor to MTN Nigeria’s income, and the new banking licence would allow the company to explore growth opportunities presented by the country’s unbanked population. MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita said granting the final approval to commence the operations of MoMo bank was an “important milestone” for the company’s  Ambition 2025 strategy unveiled a year ago. Nigeria, the continent’s populous nation, is MTN’s largest market.”

March 11, 2022

On the web

March 7, 2022

On the web

Kenya: Safaricom to Reward Customers As M-PESA Marks 15 Years


“Safaricom is set to reward more than 5000 customers and businesses starting today as the telco celebrates 15 years since the launch of M-PESA. The telco will reward the customers and businesses for sending money or making payments through the M-PESA Super App and M-PESA Business Super App. The winners will be randomly selected and will get back 15 per cent of the transaction value up to a maximum of Sh1,000. The rewards will run till March 22.”

January 5, 2022

On the web

Telkom Kenya Announces Mobile Money Product T-Kash App

Developing Telecoms

“Telkom, a South African wireline and wireless telecommunications provider, announced that Telkom Kenya has launched an app for its mobile money product, T-Kash. A press release from the operator of more than 38 countries across the African continent said that T-Kash App is an easy-to-use application that will enable its customers to access a wider service offering on its digital financial services platform. The T-Kash App, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, the Huawei App Store as well as the Apple Store, is a strategic addition through which Telkom customers will access T-Kash.”

September 15, 2021

On the web

August 2, 2021

On the web

The Evolution of Mobile Banking in Kenya


“In Kenya, M-PESA, the mobile money transfer service established in 2007 by Safaricom, is regarded as the first truly successful mobile money service in the world. M-PESA is accredited with introducing financial services to low-income and unemployed persons across the country, unlocking economic opportunities for millions. However, before M-PESA, the Kenyan banking and finance sector was already trying new ideas to improve a rigid financial system to accommodate a changing population.”

July 30, 2021

On the web

Airtel Africa Gets an Extra $200M for Its Mobile Money Business From QIA


“Three months ago, Mastercard invested $100 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV) — the mobile money business of telecom Airtel Africa . This was two weeks after it also received $200 million from TPG’s Rise Fund . Today, the African telecoms operator has announced that it has secured another investment for its mobile money arm. The investor? Qatar Holding LLC, an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar with over $300 billion in assets.”

July 28, 2021

On the web

Vodafone CEO Hints at Spin-off of Mobile Money Platform M-Pesa


Group hinted it could spin off its African mobile money service M-Pesa after its popularity soared through the pandemic. The platform offers peer-to-peer transactions in countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho. It is now pushing into new financial services like small loans, payroll and savings. CEO Nick Read said it’s logical to keep M-Pesa within the telecommunications group for now, to maintain benefits like distribution and cementing customer loyalty.”

July 19, 2021

On the web

MFS AFrica Moves Into Sierra Leone

Finextra Research

“MFS Africa today announces that it has made its entry into Sierra Leone, partnering with Afrimoney, pan-African telecommunications leader Africell’s mobile money service, to enable mobile money users in the country to receive payments from abroad smoothly and affordably…With this partnership in place, mobile transfer operator customers that are connected to the MFS Africa hub – such as MoneyGram, World Remit, and Xoom – can easily send money to mobile wallets in Sierra Leone. With over 320 million mobile wallets connected to MFS Africa’s hub, it provides an array of new cross-border payment possibilities.”

July 7, 2021

On the web

Pilot Mobile Money Service to Be Licensed in Vietnam Next Month

The Star

“Local telecommunications network providers have been approved to pilot several Mobile Money services next month after more than two years of waiting. These services will allow the use of mobile phone credit to pay for small-value goods and services…In April, the State Bank of Vietnam, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) officially signed regulations on the co-ordination of state management of Mobile Money paving the way for pilot projects to be launched.”

June 30, 2021

On the web

Ethio Telecom’s Mobile Money Lures 4 Mln in First Month, Document Says


“Ethio Telecom has signed up 4 million Ethiopians for a mobile money service that it launched in May, a document published by the Finance Ministry said, as the government seeks to sell a stake in the state-owned company. The Telebirr service allow users to send and receive money, deposit or take out cash at appointed agents, pay bills and receive cash from abroad, mirroring services that have spread elsewhere in Africa where many people do not have bank accounts. Ethio Telecom launched the service as the government seeks to sell a 40% stake in the company, part of a broader plan to liberalise its largely closed economy. A tender for the stake sale was issued this month.”

South Africa’s Vodacom Bringing 70 Businesses Onto VodaPay ‘Super App’


“South Africa’s Vodacom Group said on Tuesday about 70 businesses had signed up or committed to the mobile operator’s new digital financial services “super app” that promises to be a one-stop shop for online transactions. Last year Vodacom announced a partnership with digital payments provider Alipay to build an app that would allow consumers in South Africa to shop online, pay bills and send money to family members. Alipay is owned by Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of China’s Alibaba Group Holdings.”

June 21, 2021

On the web

Axiata, Telenor Seal $15 Bln Deal to Form Malaysia’s Biggest Mobile Operator


“Malaysian telecoms firm Axiata Group Bhd (AXIA.KL) and Norway’s Telenor ASA (TEL.OL) will merge their mobile operations in Malaysia in a $15 billion deal, forming a new market leader in the competitive Southeast Asian nation. The companies had said in April they were in advanced talks to merge Celcom Axiata Bhd and DiGi.Com Bhd (DSOM.KL) , and each party would own 33.1% of the combined firm.”

June 9, 2021

On the web

Kenyan President Urges Ethiopia to Open up Mobile Money Market


“Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday urged Ethiopia to open up its telecoms sector to private mobile money business investors, a move that would complement a process already underway to reform the sector and bring in foreign investment. Ethiopia is opening up its telecoms sector, hitherto a monopoly of the state-owned Ethio Telecom, and last month authorities awarded the first private operator licence. The licence was handed out to a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom (SCOM.NR) , Vodafone (VOD.L) , and Japan’s Sumitomo 8053.T. read more Currently though only Ethio Telecom is allowed to offer mobile financial services while foreign operators are barred by law from participating.”

June 4, 2021

On the web

S.Africa’s MTN Will Bid in Second Ethiopia Telecoms Licence Round


“South Africa’s MTN Group will bid again for an Ethiopia operating telecom licence in the second round if mobile financial services are included, its CEO said on Friday after losing the first round. Mobile financial services is key to MTN’s strategy as it continues to evolve from just providing voice to also providing data, digital services and mobile payment and lending solutions as demand for these services rise.”

May 27, 2021

On the web

Airtel Revises Mobile Money Tariff By Reducing Charges

Gadgets Africa

“Airtel Kenya has announced its plans to revise its Airtel Money tariff set to take effect from 3rd June 2021. These new adjustments will see charges on cash withdrawals from agents changed with money transaction fees to other networks being adjusted as well. According to Airtel, the new tariff us aimed at getting Airtel customers enjoy reduced cash withdrawal charges across all bands and free transactions while sending money within the Airtel network. Person-to-person money transfer charges to other networks have also been revised.”

May 24, 2021

On the web

Why South Africa’s Vodacom Is Planning to Sell Off Part of Its M-Pesa Stake


“South Africa’s biggest telco, Vodacom has received premium buyout offers for a partial stake in its mobile money business, M-Pesa. According to CEO, Shameel Joosub, Vodacom will be forced to consider these offers if M-Pesa’s performance does not significantly push up its market valuation…Unlike in Kenya where M-Pesa covers 91% of the entire mobile subscriber base, the mobile money service has not been able to attract enough users in South Africa – Vodacom’s biggest telecoms market. The operator has 44 million subscribers in the country, more than MTN’s 33 million. Vodacom’s majority-owned subsidiaries also operate M-Pesa in Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho and DR Congo. However, none of these countries have seen the rapid adoption of M-Pesa as in Kenya.”

May 19, 2021

On the web

Mobile Money Is Helping Airtel Africa and Its Rivals Bounce Back From Covid-19


“Mobile money is providing a much-needed revenue buffer against disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic for Africa’s big telecoms companies, such as Airtel Africa, MTN and Safaricom. This was evident in the financials for Airtel Africa, which reported this week that revenue from Airtel Africa Money had rebounded from a dip in the initial phase of the pandemic, growing 38.7% in the last quarter. The segment also contributed over 10.6% of the group’s revenue in this period . Airtel Money (Airtel Africa’s fintech arm) offers mobile wallets which allow holders to perform financial transactions on their cellphones.”

May 14, 2021

On the web

MFS Africa Invests in Maviance


“MFS Africa, a pan-African fintech company, operating the largest digital payments hub on the continent, had provided seed investment of $3m to Maviance, a Cameroon-based fintech provider. Maviance will be using the new funding to increase its footprint in its Cameroon and to expand into other countries in the central African economic region (CEMAC).    Dare Okoudjou, MFS Africa’s founder and CEO, said: “The rapid development of digital financial services that we have seen in Cameroon over the past few years is poised to spread across the CEMAC region. This will further accelerate the demand for domestic and cross-border payment from MSMEs, social enterprises and corporates in the region.””

Safaricom in Talks With U.S. Giant Amazon on Mobile Payments


Safaricom Plc of Kenya is holding talks with Amazon.com Inc. about the use of mobile-money service M-Pesa on the e-commerce giant’s platform, part of efforts to expand global reach and bounce back from a first profit decline in a decade. M-Pesa accounts for about a third of Safaricom’s revenue, and East Africa’s largest company sees the financial-technology product as key to future growth. The carrier already has partnerships with a unit of China’s Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. and Paypal Holdings Inc. Safaricom and Amazon already work together on web services while the Nairobi-based company runs local cloud sales for the U.S. giant, Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said in response to questions on the latest talks, which were announced alongside full-year earnings Thursday.”

May 12, 2021

On the web

UPDATE 1-Ethiopia’s State Telecoms Monopoly Launches Mobile Money Service


“Ethiopia’s sole mobile operator, Ethio Telecom, launched a mobile phone-based financial service on Tuesday, seeking to boost growth by offering cashless transactions. Mobile financial services have become a significant part of African telecom operators’ businesses since Kenya’s Safaricom pioneered them with M-Pesa in 2007, giving people an alternative to banks. The new service, telebirr, will mark a shift for Ethiopia, where the banking system is seen as inefficient with 19 commercial banks serving a population of about 115 million.”

May 6, 2021

On the web

Africa’s Digital Payments Race Becomes a Scramble


“The prospect of a cashless Africa has triggered a scramble for control of its payments plumbing. The continent’s top telecoms operators have become big financial players thanks to their “mobile money” networks, which provide basic banking to tens of millions through handsets. If China is a guide, that could make them gatekeepers to a fintech revolution. Africa’s patchy personal banking industry helped make it the world leader in mobile money, which lets consumers and small enterprises zap each other cash via a bare-bones cellphone handset. For the industry’s four big players – France’s Orange (ORAN.PA) , South Africa’s MTN (MTNJ.J) , Britain’s Vodafone (VOD.L) and Airtel Africa (AAF.L) , controlled by India’s Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS) – the coronavirus pandemic has affirmed the social importance of the service to the region’s billion people. It’s also a reminder of the industry’s commercial fragility.”

May 3, 2021

On the web

Ethiopia Pledges to Allow Mobile Money for New Telecom Entrants


“Ethiopia has pledged to allow prospective owners of new telecom licenses to offer mobile-banking services at some point after entering the market, according to people familiar with the matter.    The initial exclusion of mobile money from the auction process had caused wireless carriers to hesitate over bidding for the new spectrum and influenced the amount they were prepared to offer, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the process is ongoing. The state also backtracked on an insistence that new entrants rent infrastructure such as telecom towers from state-owned Ethio Telecom indefinitely, they said.”

April 28, 2021

On the web

Mobile Money Finally Comes to Ethiopia

Developing Telecoms

“Ethio Telecom, the – for now – monopoly telecommunications provider in Ethiopia, has announced the roll-out of a mobile money service. Called TeleBirr, it will be available to Ethio Telecom subscribers from May this year. Although the government is planning to allow two new operators to compete with Ethio Telecom, they won’t be permitted to offer mobile money services. Ethio Telecom, by contrast, has the approval of the country’s Council of Ministers to offer digital financial services. The process apparently began over a year ago with a proposal to the National Bank of Ethiopia, which approved the application.”

April 26, 2021

On the web

April 20, 2021

On the web

How Safaricom Wants to Create a More Connected Africa Through Mobile Money


“Safaricom, the largest telecommunications provider in Kenya, saw growth in its money transfer platform M-Pesa as it waived fees for small transactions, in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus through in-person payments. Launched in Kenya in 2007, M-Pesa is now available in seven African countries and used for transactions worth $12 billion each month, according to Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.He believes that by encouraging people to use online services, Covid-19 has accelerated connectivity in Africa. Ndegwa recently spoke with CNN’s Eleni Giokos about the impact of the pandemic and how the telecommunications industry can help connect the continent.”

April 19, 2021

On the web

Ghana’s New Mobile Money Rule Could Derail Financial Inclusion. But There Are Answers


“As a result, MTN, the biggest mobile money operator in Ghana, has introduced a new policy . It requires proof of identity (ID) before a customer can withdraw cash. Valid forms of proof are a driver’s licence, voter’s ID, passport, Social Security and National Insurance Trust ID, National Health Insurance card or Ghana card (national ID). All mobile money agents will have to select the ID type and enter the ID card number presented by the customer before completing the transaction. There are two problems with this: it excludes people from financial services and it encourages the use of cash. There are better ways to address fraud.”

April 12, 2021

On the web

MTN targets valuation of at least $5bn for mobile money arm


“South Africa’s MTN, the continent’s biggest mobile phone company by subscribers, is looking to value its mobile money arm at more than $5bn as it prepares to sell or list a minority stake to draw global investors enticed by fast-growing fintech assets. Chief executive Ralph Mupita told the Financial Times that the unit, which added almost 12m new users to a total of more than 46m last year, should be worth at least $5bn to $6bn and that the group would spin it out within the next year.”

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