Orange Group and MTN Group announced Mowali (mobile wallet interoperability), a joint venture, to enable interoperable payments across Africa.
Mowali makes it possible to send money between mobile money accounts issued by any mobile money provider, in real time and at low cost.
Mowali will immediately benefit from the reach of MTN Mobile Money and Orange Money, bringing together over 100 million mobile money accounts and mobile money operations in 22 of sub-Saharan Africa’s 46 markets.
Mowali is ready to enable interoperability between digital financial service providers beyond MTN and Orange operations and markets, to support the existing 338 million mobile money accounts in Africa.
Mowali is a digital payment infrastructure that connects financial service providers and customers in one inclusive network. It functions as an industry utility, open to any mobile money provider in Africa, including banks, money transfer operators and other financial service providers.
Mowali enables money to circulate freely between mobile money accounts from any operators in all countries.
“Mowali will provide an important step forward that will allow mobile money to become a universal means of payment in Africa,” Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange, said.
“The partnership with Orange is an important step in helping us play a meaningful role in supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” said Rob Shuter, group president and CEO of MTN.
GSMA says there are over 690 million mobile money accounts around the world. “Creation of Mowali will help to transform mobile financial services in Africa,” said Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA.
More than 250 million people around the world have started to use mobile money since 2015 bringing the total number of mobile money accounts to nearly 700 million at the end of 2017.
GSMA says there will be 634 million unique mobile subscribers across Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025, equivalent to 52 percent of the population, up from 444 million (44 percent) in 2017.
Mobile ecosystem will add more than $150 billion in value to Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy by 2022, equivalent to almost 8 percent of regional GDP.