Local mobile payment services firm, MobiCash, has partnered with South Africa’s Boloro to launch a game-changing initiative to foster financial inclusion on the continent. Experts say the move promotes the concept of connecting Africa’s resources through digital transformation. Patrick Ngabonziza, the MobiCash chief, announced the approach during last week’s World Economic Forum on Africa event in Kigali.
Ngabonziza said MobiCash and Boloro will be launching the mobile payments ecosystem in South Africa in collaboration with Big Save Group, one of the largest wholesalers operating in the country’s townships, and servicing thousands of small scale spaza shops. A spaza shop is an informal convenience shop business in South Africa, usually run from home. According to a press release from the firm, the MobiCash cashless platform will ease access to banking services and electronic payments to the South African population, generally.
MobiCash’s partnership with Boloro, a fast-growing mobile payments network brand, allows small-scale retail businesses to offer secure, consumer friendly, and merchant initiated payments using MobiCash multi-factor biometric authentication and Boloro’s secure pin authentication that uses Network Initiated USSD messaging.
This ground-breaking project is a first of its kind in South Africa, according to sector experts.
“We are proud to collaborate with our partners to bring a holistic ecosystem that, not only has the potential to boost small business, but also that which can impact entire communities as has been witnessed in Rwanda,” said Ngabonziza in the press statement. He said Big Save is rolling out MobiCash and Boloro across its thousands of spaza community members, noting that this will accelerate financial inclusion and financial interoperability to formerly disenfranchised businesses and communities.
“Our challenge has always been cash replacement in a cost-effective way. I am happy to see that Boloro South Africa and MobiCash have been able to devise a financial model, and present an ecosystem network that we will be rolling out across our entire spaza member community,” said Johnny Jardim, the financial director at the Big Save Group. He added that the facility will positively impact, not only the small business owners and their households, but also the community that they serve. Boloro’s retail acceptance application of MobiCash’s digital money is the first step in the strategy to boost financial inclusion. Other acceptance applications such as conveniently paying for taxi fares and secure online payments will boost the payments ecosystem even faster, experts say. Ann Camarillo, the Boloro Global co-founder, president and chief executive officer, said delivering financial dignity to every human being is a personal goal.
“I believe, with our partners, we can democratise financial access for disenfranchised communities, and offer secure payments as well as resolve the challenges associated with carrying cash,” Camarillo said. The platform will be rolled out this quarter, while plans are already underway to ramp-up reach and impact over the next several months as more stakeholders join the ecosystem to offer financial services for the population at large.