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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Kenya: Orange Celebrates the 10 Millionth Orange Money Customers

Orange money has reached its 10 millionth customer in Senegal one of its 13 countries it operates in.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orange Stéphane Richard gave a bonus to the 10 millionth customer of Orange Money Ms Kanny G in Dakar, Senegal who had gone to an Orange Money outlet to open an account and was surprised to learn that she had won a Smartphone with an Orange Money credit of 100,000 FCFA (152 euros).

"Orange Money is a revolution in terms of customer experience, and the appeal of this service is the best proof that we made the right choice when we decided to offer mobile payment services in 2008. I am very proud to be in Dakar today to meet our 10 millionth Orange Money customer. While making a strong contribution to economic and social development, mobile financial services also represent a major growth engine in Africa and the Middle East as well as in Europe for Orange," said Stéphane Richard. Orange Money has seen exponential growth since it was launched. The service is now available in 13 countries including: Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt (under the name Mobicash), Guinea, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal and Uganda.

Last year Orange Money transacted more than 2.2 billion euros in transactions and has seen in some countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, more than 40% of all Orange customers have an Orange Money account. Orange Money service links its success to that fact that it meets strong expectations by people in Africa and the Middle East and adapts to lifestyles in countries where only a minority of inhabitants have bank accounts yet the majority have a mobile phone.

Orange Money is a major source of innovation for the Group, which is broadening its offer by developing an ecosystem of services and partnerships. For example, Orange recently launched several flagship projects: Orange Money International Transfer for mobile-to-mobile money transfers, a partnership with Visa in Botswana, giving Orange Money subscribers easy access to new transaction options at Orange outlets, online and in licensed vending machines and a partnership being deployed with Total on distribution and merchant payment in service stations for greater access to Orange Money. Orange Money says it has a number of projects planned for 2014 including: the opening of additional corridors for international transfers, the creation of services for customers with bank accounts, and the development of new interfaces for smartphones.

Moreover, the Group is continuing its efforts to build up its distribution network, especially in the most remote regions, as proximity is a key success factor for Orange Money. Orange's ambition is to support the anticipated growth of the mobile payment market in the coming years. The Group also plans to expand its range of affordable financial and banking services and give as many people as possible access to them. Its objective is to turn them into indispensable services in the years to come, just as voice services, text-messaging and Internet access are today.

Mobile Money Emerging Markets

Kenya's M-Pesa mobile money app launches in Romania

East European country is the first territory in Europe to get the mobile cash transfer technology, which also launched in India last year
Author: Tom Bowker
Source: Central Banking | Apr 2014
The mobile money transfer system M-Pesa this week entered its first European market with a launch in Romania, aiming to serve seven million Romanians who today transact mainly in cash, according to Vodafone, the telecoms company behind the technology.
M-Pesa is based on simple text messaging technology and operates over any of Vodafone Romania's mobile network connections. Romanian M-Pesa customers will be able to transfer anything between one new Romanian leu ($0.31 cents) and 30,000 lei ($9,262) per day.
The system was first launched by Vodafone and local operator Safaricom in Kenya in 2007, where it retains by far its deepest penetration – and has since been introduced in other African countries and last year in India, in partnership with ICICI Bank.
It is aimed particularly at unbanked people, which describes a significant proportion of Romanians, according to Vodafone. Michael Joseph, Vodafone's director of mobile money and former chief executive of Safaricom, said: "The majority of people in Romania have at least one mobile device, but more than one third of the population do not have access to conventional banking."
As well as cash transfers, M-Pesa also will allow Romanians to pay utility bills, make a deposit and withdraw cash at participating agents and purchase low-value goods such as a newspaper or a coffee.
Michael Klein, professor of development policy at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and a former World Bank vice-president for financial and private sector development, told CentralBanking.comthat it was a "mild surprise" that M-Pesa has launched in a European country, but said that a country like Romania was the right choice, thanks to the number of emigrants who are likely to want to send money home to relatives.
Globally, M-Pesa had approximately 16.8 million active customers as at December 31, 2013, and its customers make more than €900 million worth of person-to-person transactions per month. In Kenya, Safaricom and Vodafone launched a savings and loans product in November 2012, called M-Shwari, in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa.
Klein said Michael Joseph's recruitment to head up Vodafone's mobile money business worldwide displayed an ambition to roll out M-Pesa "more systematically with the original godfather [Joseph] in charge", as other attempts to make it stick outside Kenya have met with mixed success.
"Neighbouring Tanzania developed quite impressively but not as impressive as Kenya," Klein said, adding that "no one really understands so far why that is". In India, where M-Pesa launched last year, there are "tons of people", Klein said, "but at the same time banking regulations are quite restrictive". "That can put fairly burdensome restrictions on mobile money relative to what the Kenyans have done. So we will see – this is all experimental stuff," he added.
The Romanian central bank did not return a request for comment on the launch of M-Pesa in the country. Klein said that so long as it is run as a so-called ‘narrow banking' system, whereby cash is simply turned into mobile credit at one end, and back into cash at the other, there are limited financial stability risks.

What is more, it should not be too disruptive to existing payment infrastructures. "The authorities may see this as improving access rather than a challenge to the existing systems," he said.