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MoMo Transactions Dominate Financial Inclusion Agenda


Data from the Bank of Ghana has revealed that mobile money transaction-growth continues to be a dominant force in the financial sector, growing at double the rate compared to bank transactions – a further testimony that it holds the key to financial inclusion in the country.

According to the Summary of Economic and Financial data, mobile money transactions recorded GH¢32.8billion in value as at the end of 2019 – signifying a more than 45 percent increase from the previous year’s value. However, cheques – which are the main payment system for banks – recorded GH¢16.9billion in December 2019; a decline of GH¢300million from the value recorded in the previous year.

What makes the mobile money platform seem even more powerful is the number of transactions being brought into focus. The total number of transactions recorded under mobile money as of December 2019 was 200 million; whereas that of banks was 599,000 – just about 3 percent of the mobile money number.

Even the mobile money interoperability, which was launched less than two years ago, has seen a 215 percent jump in value of transactions since December 2018 – recording GH¢132million in transaction value from 1,642 transactions.

These analyses affirm one thing: that the mobile money platform plays an integral role in the country’s financial inclusion agenda. In fact, the fourth Economic Update Report on Ghana published by the World Bank says the country is the fastest-growing market for the mobile money platform of any in Africa.

According to the report, of the 17 percentage points increase in access to formal financial services between 2010 and 2015, mobile money alone accounted for 7 percent while banks contributed only 2 percent. Again, mobile money and other non-bank financial institutions contributed an additional 8 percent.

This essentially means that, within the five-year period, a lot more people are using mobile money platforms and other non-bank financial institutions to access financial services such as paying bills, sending and receiving money, among others, rather than the traditional method of using banks.

What has accounted for this change in paradigm, the report says, is the rapid penetration of mobile phones in the country – making Ghana the fastest-growing mobile money market in Africa. The total number of mobile voice subscriptions grew 39 percent from 25.6 to 37.4 million between 2012 and 2017, resulting in a six-fold increase in registered mobile money accounts between 2012 and 2017 – from 3.8 million to 23.9 million.

The report adds that banks have, on the other hand, recently contributed the least to increasing financial inclusion across the country as a result of their lack of focus on offering financial solutions to everyday Ghanaians. They have instead focused on corporate banking and high net worth individuals.


Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo Partner on Apps Store Alternative


Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo are joining forces to create a platform for developers outside China to upload apps onto all of their app stores simultaneously, Reuters reports. People familiar with the matter said the four companies are working on the final details of what will be known as the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA).

The platform aims to make it easier for developers of games, music, movies and other apps to market their apps in overseas markets. The GDSA was initially aiming to launch in March, the report said, while noting it is not clear how that will be affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak.

A prototype website says the platform will initially cover nine countries and regions, including India, Indonesia and Russia. Developers can register on the site to access tools for converting and publishing their apps.

Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi confirmed they jointly developed the GDSA as a way to upload apps to their stores simultaneously. Huawei is not mentioned on the website.

A Xiaomi spokesman said the alliance was not intended to challenge Google and denied Huawei’s involvement with it. Oppo and Vivo made no mention of Huawei in their statements. Huawei declined to comment on Reuters' report.

Huawei earlier launched its own apps store and a major campaign to win over developers. This follows US trade restrictions against the company limiting its access to the Google Play Store and Google apps.

Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi announced last month an alliance aimed at making easier for their customers to transfer files between smartphones.


Vodacom Readies SA 5G Service, Makes Revenue Gains


Vodacom Group unveiled plans to launch 5G in its home market of South Africa during 2020 despite issues acquiring spectrum from the country’s regulator, while reporting increased uptake of data and mobile money during its fiscal Q3 (calendar Q4 2019).

In a trading update, CEO Shameel Joosub said the company would be able to launch 5G in South Africa due to a recently-signed roaming agreement to use Liquid Telecom’s 3.5GHz spectrum assets in 5G-suitable frequencies.

Vodacom laid claim to the launch of Africa’s first 5G network in Lesotho during August 2018 and, at the time, Joosub stated the company was ready to replicate the strategy in its home market as soon as it acquired suitable licences.

However, 5G spectrum has still not been formally assigned to operators by the country’s regulator. This leaves only those holding licences from legacy services, including Liquid Telecom, able to access the band.

Data, money growth
Elsewhere in its fiscal Q3 results statement, Vodacom revealed a 6.6 per cent year-on-year increase in group revenue to ZAR23.6 billion ($1.59 billion). Net profit is not disclosed on a quarterly basis.

Growth in South Africa was attributed to an increase in its customer base and uptake of data services following price cuts and seasonal promotions.

For its International division, Joosub said the company produced “solid results on the back of strong demand for data and m-Pesa services”. It added 550,000 mobile money users across its markets, excluding Safaricom in Kenya and South Africa, to reach a base of 14.8 million by end-December.

At the same point, more than 37 per cent of mobile users covered by its International division also used its mobile money platform.

Vodacom noted revenue increases attributed to m-Pesa had been “supported by higher transactions per customer as we continue to introduce new services such as micro-loans, merchant payments and interconnection with banks and other operators.”


MTN launches Mobile Money API hackathon

In pursuit of its goal of contributing to bridge the financial divide, MTN Group has granted third parties access to its Mobile Money (MoMo) Access Programming Interface (API) platform accessible on

The open API enables developers and programmers to innovate on the platform and develop products and other innovative solutions to enable a wider range of digital solutions for MTN’s customers.

To further foster innovation and enhance financial inclusion, MTN is now inviting developers and entrepreneurs across five countries to participate in the MoMo API Hackathon. The Hackathon, run in partnership with Ericsson (MTN’s Mobile Money technology partner), will give App developers based in Ghana, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Zambia the opportunity to create innovative financial and transactional applications using the MTN MoMo API platform.

Commenting on the initiative, MTN Group Executive for Mobile Financial Services, Eli Hini said: “Enhancing financial inclusion through the use of digital technology is an essential element in furthering the continent’s economic development, particularly for the previously unbanked. We see this as an opportunity for more tech-developers, entrepreneurs and businesses to work with us in creating more opportunities for themselves while contributing to bridging the financial divide.”

The range of solutions to close the financial services gap in markets where MTN operates requires partnerships with financial services providers, regulatory authorities, other mobile network operators, merchants, distributors, businesses, technology providers, entrepreneurs and developers. This Hackathon further illustrates the essence of the company’s ‘We’re Good Together’ initiative, which celebrates the role collaboration and partnerships play in ensuring that more people enjoy the benefits of a modern connected life.

The company is also embracing technologies that can accelerate the realisation of many United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs); the hackathon, which aims to enhance MTN’s financial services offering, speaks to the first UN SDG aimed at reducing poverty.

About the challenge

  • Developers are required to create a mobile application that uses MTN MoMo APIs, and the mobile application needs to target consumers, merchants or businesses.
  • The application must be useful and usable in the market where the applicants have registered and can cover use-cases beyond payment, but must utilise MTN MoMo APIs.
  • MTN/Ericsson in each country will select 12 applicants.
  • The pre-selected applicants will have 2 weeks to develop their ideas.
  • The pre-selected applicants will need to make a live demo of their application submission.

Finalists stand a chance to win US$2,500 and one team-member will win a trip to Ericsson’s Innovation Lab in Sweden.