The two largest mobile operators and mobile money providers in Africa, Orange Group and MTN Group, have announced a partnership venture, Mowali, a mobile wallet interoperability set to service over 100 Million mobile money accounts and mobile money operations in 22 of sub-Saharan Africas’s 46 markets.
Mowali Wallet survives on Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Mojaloop, an open-source software deployed by financial services firms, government regulators, among other facing the problems of financial inclusion and interoperability. The software is powered by Ripple’s Interledger Protocol.
Mojaloop was innovated with collaborations from Ripple, Dwolla, ModusBox, Software Group, and Crosslake Technologies, and financed by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through The Level One Project.
Mowali now makes it easy for mobile users to access interoperable payments across Africa. The wallet will make it possible for people to send money from one mobile money accounts to another in a fast and low cost manner.
The service will first be offered to Orange Money and MTN Mobile Money customers, however, there is plan that the service would be offered to other digital financial service providers. This will make the service extend to 338 million mobile money accounts across Africa.
Mowali, according to MTN and Orange, is a “digital payment infrastructure” available for any mobile money provider in Africa.
While its main objective is to heighten the deployment of mobile money by customers and merchants, it is going to help Africa and extend the awesome services offered by The Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation to Africa.
Kosta Peric, deputy director of Financial Services for the Poor, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who spoke on the development said, “Interoperability of digital payments has been the toughest hurdle for the financial services industry to overcome, in support of financial inclusion.”
“With Mowali, Orange and MTN deliver a solution that will enable them, and other companies, to scale digital financial services across Africa, faster, to everyone – including the poor.”
Meanwhile, Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange, added that “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.”
In his word, Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO of MTN, said “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 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals related to eliminating extreme poverty and enhancing socio-economic development.”