Mobile Money Africa comes to Joburg

4 May 2012

Mobile Money Africa 2012, the largest industry gathering of its kind on continent, takes place at Johannesburg's Southern Sun Montecasino from 14 to 17 May, promising the latest angles on a highly competitive and fast-developing market in which South African companies are closely involved.

Sonum Puri, programme director for Mobile Money Africa, believes South Africa is not only a competitive mobile money market, but a good representation of the different business models that are transpiring from banks, mobile network operators, third-party operators, social media and online retailers and payment providers.

'A great chance'

"The event will be a great chance to show the mobile money ecosystem can grow to encompass many new stakeholders in the marketplace, which means that people can take lots of examples from the South African market and apply them to their own businesses," Puri said in a statement this week.

"Much has been documented about the potential of mobile money in East Africa, but for the first time, the Mobile Money Africa conference will be exploring the rise of mobile financial services in West African countries such as Senegal and the Ivory Coast," Puri added.

"The event will also be looking at the integration of mobile money with online channels to penetrate the e-commerce market and tap into a new customer base."

Nigerian market

Nigeria, in particular, is predicted to be another big market for mobile money, as research shows that only 25 percent of the Nigerian population hase bank accounts or access to financial services.

"Last May, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued licenses to 16 mobile money operators, and in the last couple of months we have seen a number of providers such as Monitise, Pagatech, eTranzact, and United Bank of Africa announce the launch of new mobile money services," Puri said.

"The Nigerian mobile money market is already valued at US$25-billion, and mobile money users are expected to reach 709-million by 2015."

Tanzania is one of the fastest growing mobile money markets in the world. Puri says the country currently boasts mobile phone penetration of 49%, with four active mobile money businesses, the largest of which is Vodacom’s M-PESA, which has over two-million active users.

MTN offering

"Visa recently unveiled a mobile prepaid product, which will be offered by MTN in Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda, and other big growth, markets especially for remittances," Puri said.

"The central bank of West Africa is playing an active role in encouraging private sector players to roll out mobile money services, and the central bank has also promoted the launch of the new Gim mobile service in West Africa."

Mobile Money Africa 2012 forms part of the Connected Africa Forum, which will showcase the evolution of mobile lifeline services and applications in Africa, and highlight the evolving intersection between mobile money, mobile health and mobile agriculture.

Speakers

The speakers include: Yolande van Wyk, CEO, eWallet Solutions, First National Bank; Neil Ahlsten, New Business Development Director, Google; Francis Matseketsa, Mobile Money Executive, Econet; Lowell Campbell, Head of Agent Banking, Standard Bank; Stanley Jacobs, Group Head of E-Business, Fortis Mobile Money; Stanley Henning, COO/DMD, Uganda Telecom; Kelvin Twissa, M-Commerce Director, Airtel Tanzania; and Yinka Adedeji, CEO, Afripay/United Bank Africa.

A pre-conference workshop takes place on 14 May. The conference itself will be held on 15 and 16 May, to be followed by a post-conference site visit on 17 May.

SAinfo reporter

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