Mobile financial services increase in Africa empowering the most vulnerable

Mobile financial services have grown faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world. Prior to their introduction, most Africans were unbanked. Without bank accounts, people could not easily access credit and had no way of paying bills or transferring money electronically.  

The spread of COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of mobile financial services. This trend has been supported by the move by many operators, including MTN Group, to waive or reduce certain fees to ease customers’ financial pressures amid a global economic contraction.

“To date, as part of MTN’s Y’ello Hope response to COVID-19, we have zero-rated 120 million peer-to-peer Mobile Money transactions with a value of approximately R43 billion,” says Serigne Dioum, MTN Group executive for mobile financial services. “This has enabled many consumers and businesses across our 16 MoMo markets to transact and accept payments remotely, allowing them to continue operating despite lockdowns.” 

As a large mobile financial services operator, MTN is uniquely placed to continue to drive greater levels of financial inclusion as Africa and the world adapt to a new way of transacting. Accelerated financial inclusion is a potent enabler of socio-economic development that empowers the most vulnerable in society.

MTN’s plan to further financial inclusion is focused on offering mobile financial services to more customers and small businesses in more markets. The company has developed a low-cost payment acceptance solution for small retailers, enabling customers with feature phones to make payments with their MoMo wallets by dialling a USSD code with a feature phone, or by using the MoMo App for smartphone owners.

MoMo Pay is now offered through multiple channels: face-to-face, e-commerce, m-commerce and on the app. It has a strong value proposition: no fee is charged to the customer and merchants gain additional value over and above accepting payments because they too can make payments such as paying salaries, bills and suppliers, as well as accessing working capital. MoMo Pay is live in 10 markets, with 250 000 merchants, 2,1 million active users.

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