Ericsson Mobile Money: Enabler of Financial Inclusion and Development in Africa

Female hands using mobile banking on smart phone

By Hossam Kandeel, Country Manager of Ericsson Angola

As the world grapples with COVID-19 health crisis, more desire for all forms of contactless payments is on the rise to avoid infections and disease transmission. With mobile money, customers can make payments anywhere at any time with their mobile devices connected to the internet which decreases exposure to physical money, Point of Sales (PoS) terminals and Automated Teller Machines (ATM)– especially with high volumes of micropayments. The freedom to send, spend and receive money with a mobile phone is quickly becoming an essential part of life for billions of people. It has been trending in mobile money implementations that more money remains digital – promoting further digital transactions circulating in the system – rather than being cashed-out which is great progress towards cashless society.

In 2019, GSMA recorded over a billion registered accounts and close to $2 billion in daily transactions. Mobile money has been a contributor to shaping lives of low-income users by allowing easier, secure and cheaper exchange of micropayments. It is enabling entrepreneurs and small businesses to become more productive and helping governments develop and better manage economies.

A large portion of the population in Africa needs to be brought into the folds of financial inclusion in order to generate sustainable economic growth. However, the unbanked are the ones who are least involved in the formal financial system, due to factors such as distance to banks, education, and the inability to authenticate their identity, according to data from Ericsson Consumer Lab. Additional challenges are related to lengthy queues, processing time, high service charges while receiving payments are also common.

Moreover, the amount of time taken to process money transfers, the distance from the place of transacting for international transfers can be frustrating – as can long processing and waiting times during bill payment provide opportunities.

Integration and interoperability between banks, telecom / mobile money operators and money transfer providers is critical for mobile money growth. Getting all relevant parties to connect and create a new type of ecosystem that is open for everyone to join to make mobile money transactions as easy as sending a digital message. This industry-leading Mobile Wallet Solution by Ericsson is creating a more secure, flexible, transparent and open financial ecosystem that helps key stakeholders speed the launch of mobile financial services to drive financial inclusion.

There are so many possibilities in the FinTech market to tap into – with innovative services and solutions. Ericsson Mobile Wallet Solution helps open-up the mobile money system to entrepreneurs and developers for innovating such services. In MTN Ghana, the Ericsson Mobile wallet solution with open Access Programming Interfaces creates a new type of ecosystem that is open for everyone to join to accelerate mobile financial services innovation and change the future of payments.

Ericsson aims to develop a more open, easy and accessible mobile money network that offers more choices than restrictions, for that Ericsson is driving this change of making money more open by collaborating with several operators globally. With MTN Ericsson signed a five-year mobile money contract extension covering 13 countries in the Middle East and Africa. With this partnership, we bring an interconnected and transparent financial ecosystem. Optimizing the mobile money experience directly impacts consumer experience and with Ericsson Wallet m-commerce solution, service providers can respond quickly to requirements from consumers and merchants and provide reliable services as well as bring useful services to subscribers, including mobile phone users that do not have access to traditional banking services.

With four times as many mobile subscribers in the world than people with bank accounts, Ericsson Wallet Platform provides advanced mobile financial services to people and businesses across the globe.  In 2020, we are looking forward to seeing more mobile money successes to increase empowerment and safety of people and communities and for a better functioning economy.