UK based Mobile Banking provider, Monitise says that it has been awarded US$1.5 million by the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) to help fund the launch of its mobile banking and payments service in East Africa.
Monitise East Africa will initially offer services in Uganda and then plans to expand into neighbouring countries, including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. The service will enable the provision of banking, payment and money transfer services by both banks and mobile networks, within the regulatory framework of each market.
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund is designed to fund business enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa in the field of agriculture, agri-business, rural financial services and media and information services that will have a positive impact on the rural poor by delivering increased employment, reduced costs and improved productivity. It is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA).
Hugh Scott, director, Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund said: "By helping enterprises to build successful businesses in Africa, we believe that we can make market systems work better and generate wealth that benefits the entire society. Through the extension of the reach of the banks and allowing people to save, make payments and transfer money to their families, we believe that Monitise East Africa has the potential to transform the economic outlook for literally millions of people. I also firmly believe that in due course many of the people who use the service will, through the empowerment that a savings and payments culture delivers, become business people themselves, creating a truly sustainable economy."
The news coincides with a recent launch by the UK's Department for International Development of a £1.4 million fund to spur the development of biometric and mobile phone-based banking in emerging economies in Asia and Africa. The project entitled Facilitating Access to Financial Services through Technology (FAST) will explore the options for introducing 'branchless banking' in developing countries and look at how technologies such as mobile phone banking can help the poor to access financial services.
(Source: Cellular News)