Operators to launch mobile money initiative across Africa and Middle East

01 May 2014 | Sophie Donoghue

The GSMA will collaborate with nine operators to launch interoperable mobile money services across Africa and the Middle East.

The nine operators – Airtel, Etisalat, Millicom, MTN, Ooredoo, Orange, STC, Vodafone and Zain – account for a combined total of 582 million mobile connections across 48 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

According to the GSMA, the collaboration will help address the problem of 2.5 billion people in lower to middle-income countries who do not have access to financial services.

The move will allow a large percentage of the population in the region to access financial services through mobile as a result.

The GSMA’s Mobile Money Interoperability Programme is a global programme designed to help operators across different regions to launch interoperable mobile money services.

The programme identifies best practices, guidelines and processes, and provides regulatory support.

“Mobile network operators are engaging with each other, and 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,” said Anne Bouverot, DG of the GSMA.

GSMA studies have shown that the number of active mobile money users continues to grow, with more than 61 million accounts active as of 2013.