Nine high profile telecoms companies with operations in Africa have agreed to work together to accelerate the implementation of interoperable mobile money services across Africa and the Middle East regions.
The GSM Association (GSMA) has announced Bharti Airtel, Etisalat Group, Millicom, MTN Group, Ooredoo Group, Orange, STC Group, Vodafone Group and Zain Group – which jointly account for 582 million mobile connections across 48 countries in Africa and the Middle East – have signed up to its Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) programme.
MMI is a global programme which also includes mobile network operators from other regions and focuses on helping them to successfully launch and scale interoperable mobile money services through identifying and sharing best practices, guidelines and processes, creating performance benchmarks, and providing regulatory support.
“We have seen the significant benefits of mobile financial inclusion in the developing world and operators recognise that, through collaboration, there are opportunities to extend this inclusion even further,” said Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA.
“Mobile network operators are engaging with each other, with banks, financial institutions, regulators, governments and ecosystem partners, to identify and implement solutions that will successfully allow more mobile financial services to be delivered to a broader range of people across both regions, while maintaining high service quality. We are very pleased that these operators are taking the next steps in providing convenient, affordable and ubiquitous financial services to men and women across the region.”
Bouverot said mobile money is a young industry, with over 80 per cent of all deployments launched during or after 2010.
“In order to accelerate the growth of mobile money, we call on telecommunications, financial sector regulators and policymakers to provide a policy and fiscal environment that enables these services to be rolled out successfully to promote a nascent and important driver of commerce and socio-economic development,” she said.