Africa: Scramble for digital payments solutions intensifies

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Digital payments have skyrocketed thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic which has changed the way people transact.

Africa, the home of easy and convenient mobile money payments, has experienced ballooning services in the digital payments sector which is helping with the shift to a cashless economy on the continent.

To tap into this, several players are joining the fray by offering services that will transform the economies from the North of Africa to the southernmost part of the continent.

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Among the latest entrants into the field is Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) which has inked a partnership with Mondia Pay to provide Ooredoo Algeria and Orange Tunisia users with safe and convenient payment options.

Huawei device users can now pay for their monthly services, latest games, and favourite applications seamlessly on HUAWEI AppGallery using Direct Carrier Billing services (DCB).

With over 2.1 billion global monthly transactions, Mondia Pay aims to provide users in North Africa with secure, convenient, and contactless payment options. This integration is a result of a strategic partnership that was formalised in September 2020 and has since witnessed an increase in DCB coverage and IAP (In-App Purchase) kit capabilities for global developers.

Mondia Pay CEO Simon Rahmann says that the partnership with Huawei Mobile Services will bring Mondia Pay’s fully integrated digital payment technology to serve the Africa region.

The HUAWEI AppGallery offers users in Algeria and Tunisia with seamless, safe, and secure payment options. This partnership further cements our commitment to enable technology around the world and to provide Huawei users in Algeria and Tunisia with convenient access to services by Huawei Mobile Services.

And to ensure that the key players in the sector are not left behind, Ecobank Group in partnership with Microsoft, LinkedIn, GitHub and Ecobank Academy is set to provide training to equip Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across sub-Saharan Africa. This training will provide SMEs digital skills and knowledge to succeed in today’s digital world.

SMEs have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic with its attendant lockdowns and disruptions to supply chains, plummeting sales, lost revenue and operational challenges. In response, Ecobank through its Commercial Banking Segment is helping business owners close the digital skills gap within their chosen fields and improve the digital capabilities of their employees.

Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Group Executive, Commercial Banking for the Ecobank Group says that the pandemic has turbocharged the shift towards digital. She adds that it is essential that businesses adapt so that they are able to compete effectively in today’s rapidly changing landscape.

Through this partnership with Microsoft, LinkedIn, GitHub and Ecobank Academy, the training is meant to equip business owners and their employees with the digital skills that they need to stay connected to their customers.

The training is offering 10 in-demand skill sets in customer services; digital marketing; financial analysis; graphic design; IT support/help desk; project management; sales; data analysis; IT administration; and software development.

Participating SMEs can complete the virtual programme at their own pace and at times that work best for them. The programme runs until 31st of December 2021.

The training is also expected to help digital talent come up with more local innovation, as developers and entrepreneurs are empowered to create locally relevant solutions that best address the challenges and needs of African countries.

Read: Russia roped in as China-US war over Africa intensifies

Startups and SMEs play a critical role in innovation, economic growth and job creation, and expanded access to digital skills is one of the key steps needed to foster a successful economic recovery.

Huawei has launched Mondia Pay on Huawei Mobile Services in the MEA Region. This is as the scramble for digital payments in Africa intensifies. [Photo/TechAfrica News]
In Tanzania, Cellulant has received the nod from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) to become a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP).

BOT has issued an approval in principle to Cellulant Corporation to operate as a PSSP in Tanzania having satisfied all the necessary requirements.

PSSPs make up the underlying e-Payment infrastructure in Tanzania. Banks, Online Merchants, payment processors, merchants, state governments, and consumers connect to PSSPs to meet their digital payment needs.

This approval makes Cellulant one of the top Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSP) in Tanzania endorsed by the BOT to provide digital payments solutions across the nation.

Cellulant provides a one-stop digital payments platform using technology to connect people and their resources, making it easier to do business across Africa.

Edwin Kiiru, the recently appointed Country Manager for Cellulant in Tanzania, stated that this approval will enable the company to extend its payment solutions across all spectrums of Tanzania’s payments ecosystem.

Cellulant provides a single digital payments platform – named Tingg- addressing the complex payments needs of businesses. Tingg makes it easy to collect and make payments across multiple payment methods in different currencies, with the best customer experience for any business looking to digitise their payments.

Kiiru says that Cellulant is a critical component of Africa’s Payments ecosystem and a key actor in delivering seamless payments solutions. He said the approval puts Cellulant into a select group of few payment aggregators that operate as PSSPs in Tanzania and will help add millions of economically active but financially excluded Tanzanians into the digital payment ecosystem.

Founded in 2002, Cellulant provides a single digital payments platform that runs an ecosystem of consumers, retailers, merchants, banks, mobile network operators, Governments, and International Development Partners.

Today, Cellulant’s payments platform hosts 154 payment options across 34 countries; and is connected to 220 million consumers on a single inclusive network allowing for interoperability that has eluded numerous players in the payments space.

Cellulant has an office presence in 18 African countries with the latest being Zambia where multiple mobile money players are fighting for market share. Merchants and retailers have set up fragmented payment processes, contracts and accounts to accept all forms of payments.

This, in turn, means that the retailer is managing varying user payment experiences to collect from multiple mobile money networks and processes for settlement and reversals daily.

Cellulant is addressing this fragmentation in payment processing for retailers by rolling out Tingg, the company’s digital payments platform enabling businesses to accept payments from their customers seamlessly.

More than 70 per cent of businesses in Africa are small or medium businesses and remain a backbone for economic growth for many other countries in Africa. Yet, 90 per cent of these businesses collect payments in cash and lack digital payments options that cater to their customers.

Cellulant aims to leverage its digital payments platform to boost growth for the retail sector by making it easy for businesses to conveniently and affordably accept payments and address the complex needs of managing payments.

Read: Kenyan fintech Cellulant sells $47.5M stake to American investors

I have 10 years of experience in multimedia journalism and I use the skills I have gained over this time to meet and ensure goal-surpassing editorial performance. Africa is my business and development on the continent is my heartbeat. Do you have a development story that has to be told? Reach me at njenga.h@theexchange.africa and we can showcase Africa together.

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