Orange rolls out Visa card in Botswana

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Orange Botswana has finally rolled out its Visa card to its subscribers in the country. “Our latest innovation, Orange Money Visa service, is a world first and a breakthrough innovation which goes a step further in the financial inclusion,” said the CEO of Orange Botswana Elisabeth Medou-Badang.

With about 50% of unbanked Batswana, “now Orange Money customers can get a debit card that allows ATM withdrawals from the over 300 VISA ATMs in Botswana and purchases at over 4,700 VISA point of sale machines. Even better, Orange Money customers can now also get a Virtual Visa card that enables them to securely buy online. This has opened up the world of secure internet transactions and ecommerce,” she added.

According to Badang, Orange Botswana collaborated with relevant stakeholders to make the availability of the Visa Card possible. “This innovation was made possible, thanks to the alignment of strategy on financial inclusion between Orange as a Group and Visa incorporation; the support of Banc ABC, and the technical integration capacity of Tutuka Software Pty Ltd (Tutuka). Such a shift in paradigm requires a conducive environment for innovation and competition in general, particularly when it comes to regulation.”

She said working with the BOCRA also made their deployment easy; “A sound example of this is what we see being practiced by the Botswana Communications and Regulatory Authority and Bank of Botswana through their support by acting as enablers of innovation rather than inhibitors. Thari Pheko the Chief Executive Officer of BOCRA and his team have been receptive and understanding, not just of Orange, but, of the industry as a whole. It is amazing that while 4G is on trial in Botswana, where we are planning to cover villages with less than 10, 000 inhabitants, we have countries in Africa as we speak with more than 10 million inhabitants yet the operators are still waiting to be granted licenses to roll out 3G networks.”

Another stakeholder, the Bank of Botswana is said to have facilitated the modalities for the speedy launch of all what Orange sought to launch in the country. Said Badang, “The same applies to Bank of Botswana; while some have to wait years to launch mobile money services; we have managed to enhance our value proposition culminating today with the Orange Money Visa service, thanks to the pragmatic approach that the Governor Ms Linah Mohohlo and her team have taken.”

The Governor of the Bank of Botswana, Linah Mohohlo, said one of aims of such initiatives was to reduce poverty among citizens. It also has the potential to improve the delivery of appropriate and affordable banking services, as well as to enhance payment transactions and, in so doing, contribute to poverty reduction and ultimately to prosperity.  “After all, financial inclusion is about providing an opportunity for the unbanked and financially under-served members of the community, so they are able to participate in the formal financial system, thereby opening avenues for entering the economic mainstream.  The realisation of the product is also testimony to what can be achieved through joint effort in promoting financial sector development.”

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