Orange and MTN partner to unlock digital finance innovation in Africa

French telecom provider Orange collaborates with SA telecom provider MTN to develop Mowali, an interoperable digital payment system


French telecom company Orange, in collaboration with South African telecom company MTN Group, has unveiled Mowali, an interoperable digital payment system that will aim to "unlock further innovation in the digital financial space within the continent".

Mowali will to work as an "industry utility" and will attempt to enable payments "to circulate freely between mobile money accounts from any operators in all countries" and support 338 million mobile accounts on the continent. Mowali will leverage the reach of both telecom companies, "bringing together more than 100 million mobile money accounts and mobile money operations in 22 of sub-Saharan Africa's 46 markets".

GSMA, a trade body that represents mobile network operators, is said to be supporting the new initiative.

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Orange CEO and chairman Stephanie Richard said: "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."

Furthermore, MTN CEO Rob Shuter said that the partnership supports the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate poverty and enhance socio-economic development and "giving our customers access to a bright, digital future".

The development of Mowali follows Orange'srecent announcement that it will expand its multi-service operator strategy and the launch of its KaiOS-powered smartphones.

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