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The MTN Group has revealed the launch of a mobile money cross-border payment service between Ivory Coast and Benin, positioning itself in the middle of the mobile money industry that has grown massively in Africa. The service, it says, has been introduced to enable the cheaper and easier movement of money in the West African region, potentially cutting miles that people have to walk to banks.
This service is not the first of its kind that MTN has initiated between two countries. Back in April, the mobile giant introduced a similar service between Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. The success of that cross-border mobile money service is behind the company’s decision to initiated the service between Ivory Coast and Benin.
“The launch of this new corridor is an important part of our mobile financial services strategy. The new service will take advantage of the extensive distribution network of MTN Mobile Money in both countries, and reduce the cost of sending and receiving money for our customers,” says Pieter Verkade, MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer.
The introduction of this cross-border payment is part of MTN’s strategy to increase financial inclusion via the use of mobile technologies and to further reduce the high costs of transferring money. It’s a market that MTN has been doing well in. On 30 September, MTN mobile money had 22. 2 million registered users and was available in 15 countries. The service enables its users to perform a number of functions: local and international money transfers, make utility payments, save money in their interest bearing mobile wallets, purchase airtime and access a range of mobile financial products.
“The ability to transfer money easily and cheaply between Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast is already revolutionising the lives of many of our customers. As with the Burkina service, the Benin corridor will not only connect families, but also facilitate trade and business partnerships on a regional scale,” says Wim Vanhelleputte, the CEO of MTN Ivory Coast.
It remains to be seen if the Ivory Coast-Benin service will be a success, but considering that mobile money transfer is currently a big industry in Africa because of its accessibility and convenience, MTN must be hopeful of success.
“The Benin-Ivory Coast corridor will benefit our customers in many ways. A large number of Beninese live in Ivory Coast and the cost-effective service will undoubtedly increase the economic flows between the two countries and reinforce family ties by allowing fast, affordable and reliable money transfer,” adds Malik Melamu, the CEO of MTN Benin.