MTN Group boosts Ericsson partnership for better financial services in Africa

MTN office on 14th Ave in Fairland, Johannesburg. Picture: Timothy Bernard/ Independent Newspapers

MTN office on 14th Ave in Fairland, Johannesburg. Picture: Timothy Bernard/ Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 10, 2024


Ericsson and the MTN Group said yesterday they had strengthened their partnership to enhance mobile financial services, and them to target the further financial empowerment of potentially millions of citizens across Africa.

The partnership would broaden the scope of financial inclusion, from first-time users to high-end business applications, using MTN’s Mobile Money (MoMo) service on the Ericsson Wallet Platform.

More than 63 million MTN active subscribers already use the MoMo platform in some form across 16 African countries.

“Our Mobile Money platform is advancing economic empowerment across the continent. MTN MoMo offers a spectrum of mobile financial services, encompassing money transfers, payments, savings, and loans for every consumer,” said MTN Group chief fintech officer Serigne Dioum said yesterday.

Powered by the Ericsson Wallet Platform, MTN MoMo would now also enable individuals and businesses to do secure and convenient banking and payment transactions, directly from their mobile devices.

The envisaged suite of services would provide MTN’s customer base across Africa with access to a world-class mobile connectivity-based financial ecosystem, the groups said.

In addition to ramping up MTN’s goal of advancing financial inclusion for the unbanked, the service provider would also offer advanced financial services to address the rapidly evolving digital financial needs of individuals and enterprises.

MTN MoMo customers would now be able to manage funds, pay merchants and utility providers, and access loans and insurance services with ease, said Dioum.

The platform placed a strong emphasis on financial technology, with focus areas including the growth of merchant and e-commerce payments, facilitating national and international money transfers among family members and others, advancing banking solutions, and offering insurance services.

The agreement was signed during a visit by MTN executives to Ericsson headquarters in Kista, Sweden, where strategic priorities and collaboration were discussed.

MTN MoMo annual transaction value has almost tripled since 2018, growing to $204 billion (R3.8 trillion) in 2022 from $76bn in 2018. Transaction volumes increased by almost 300% in the same period - from 3.5 billion transactions in 2018 to 12.7 billion in 2022.

Ericsson’s Wallet Platform supports more than 400 million registered mobile wallets and processes more than 2.8 billion transactions, worth more than $40bn, every month through communication service providers and financial institutions globally.

“Our collaboration with Ericsson is a significant milestone in the execution of our Ambition 2025 – building the largest and most valuable platform business and create shared value for our customers in Africa,” said Dioum.

Ericsson head of Mobile Financial Services Michael Wallis-Brown said the partnership with MTN was a great example of the ability of mobile financial services to financially empower people and businesses - from giving the unbanked their first opportunity to control their finances, making it easier for women to access financial services and promoting digital inclusion, to enabling more advanced users to access high-end services.

“This model can be applied in any market in the world to genuinely empower mobile subscribers of all financial standings. Our MTN partnership also supports Ericsson's AfricaInMotion vision to promote a sustainable and connected Africa,” he said.

The partnership will also give entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop revenue-generating applications and, by utilising Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment, will enable an automated software development and deployment workflow for the MTN MoMo fintech platform across all of its African operations.