Mobile money infiltrates African pop culture as Ugandan pop song promotes industry

Ugandan pop star Tycoon’s song about mobile money services could have boosted the industry’s growth in Africa.

Tycoon’s YouTube hit was presented by Gavin Krugel, Chief Strategy Officer of Fundamo, in a speech at AfricaCom 2012’s Mobile Money forum yesterday (Tuesday).

The video, which has 625 hits, features young men and women dancing, engaging in cell phone activities and sitting discussing or singing along to his song about mobile money with drinks.

Although most of the lyrics are in their native language, English phrases throughout their song are recognisable, for example “the reason why”, “confusion” and “mobile money”.

The promotion of mobile money technology through African entertainment could be of great advantage for the growth of the industry throughout the continent.

According to Krugel, one of the greatest challenges in expanding usage of the service is culturally rooted.

Research shows the understanding in the use of particular vernacular has provided misunderstandings in engaging with mobile money.

It is not as much a language problem as it is a way of expression, Krugel said. For example, to “send money” means to Ugandans to post it, literally putting it in an envelope. When it comes to cell phone management of money, they would use the term “put”, he explained.

Marketers have to be aware of the local understanding of operations before approaching the market in selling an idea. With the right “lingo material and adapt(ion) of service offering”, Krugel believes the revenues generated from the mobile money market could grow extensively.  

Tycoon’s music video was featured at the Mobile Money forum where Krugel spoke about “The Mobile Money opportunities from a financial organisation’s perspective”. Fundamo is a subsidiary division of Visa Inc.  

MTN has partnered with Western Union in March this year to supply mobile money services for Uganda’s subscribers. The services are available for transferring money through a mobile device between 450,000 locations in 200 countries.

“We are indeed excited about this new collaboration with Western Union as it extends the reach of our innovative solutions beyond Uganda’s borders,” MTN Chairman Uganda Charles Mbire told Uganda Online earlier this year.

Watch Tycoon’s Mobile Money hit by clicking here.

Posted in: Mobile

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