MEA Mobile Networks to Allow Mobile Money Transfers Between Customers


Driving better synergies and cooperation between different operators, the GSMA has announced that nine mobile network operators, including Bharti Airtel, Etisalat Group, Millicom, MTN Group, Ooredoo Group,  Orange, STC Group, Vodafone Group and Zain Group, have committed to work  together to accelerate the implementation of interoperable mobile money  services across Africa and the Middle East regions.

Collectively,  these operators account for 582 million mobile connections across 48 countries  in Africa and the Middle East. The GSMA’s Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI)  programme is a global programme which also includes mobile network operators from  other regions and focuses on helping them to successfully launch and scale interoperable  mobile money services through identifying and sharing best practices, guidelines and processes,  creating performance benchmarks, and providing regulatory support.

“We have seen the  significant benefits of mobile financial inclusion in the developing world and operators  recognise that, through collaboration, there are opportunities to extend this  inclusion even further,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “Mobile network operators  are engaging with each other, with banks, financial institutionsregulators, 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. We  are very pleased that these operators are taking the next steps in providing  convenient, affordable and ubiquitous financial services to men and women  across the region.”

Mobile Money Market Landscape   It  is estimated that 2.5 billion people in lower to middle income countries lack  access to financial services and cannot adequately invest in their livelihoods,  protect their assets nor mitigate shocks that cause them to fall deeper into  poverty. However, it is estimated that 1.7 billion of these people have a  mobile phone, providing existing infrastructure that can be used to sustainably  offer financial services such as payments, transfers, insurance, savings,  credit and cross-border remittances. GSMA research has shown that the  number of active mobile money users continues to grow rapidly, with more than  61 million accounts active as of 2013.

As  of December 2013, mobile money in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and  North Africa regions showed significant growth:

  • The regions accounted for 58 per cent of the world’s 218  mobile money deployments;
  • Sixty-six per cent of all registered accounts and 73  per cent of active accounts are located in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle  East and North Africa; and
  • Mobile money users in these regions accounted for 77  per cent of global transaction value in June 2013, performing 341 million  transactions totalling USD $5.7 billion.

Bouverot continued, “Mobile money is a young industry,  with over 80 per cent of all deployments launched during or after 2010. In  order to accelerate the growth of mobile money, we call on telecommunications,  financial sector regulators and policymakers to provide a policy and fiscal  environment that enables these services to be rolled out successfully to promote  a nascent and important driver of commerce and socio-economic development.”