In Africa, the smart money is on mobile financial services, which explains why everyone trying to move funds is tapping into that channel. Mukuru, the South African money remittances services caught onto this a while ago and last year we saw that locally through its partnership with Telecel’s Telecash.
Now, Mukuru has applied the same strategy to Mozambique. Through a partnership with Mkesh, the mobile money service owned by mobile operator Mcel, Mukuru users in South Africa can now send money straight into a Mkesh wallet. Mcel is the largest mobile operator in Mozambique ahead of Vodacom and Movitel. It has over 40% market share.
The modus operandi is pretty much the same with the Mukuru/Telecash service. Any Mukuru user in South Africa makes the instruction to send money through their mobile phone, and payment can be made using the Mukuru card, or at any retailer like Pick n Pay, Checkers or Shoprite that has the Mukuru service.
Once payment is received, the money is sent directly into the receiver’s Mkesh account within 24 hours. MCel subscribers who want to receive money from Mukuru have to enable the service on their SIM card.
Though this remittances-meets-mobile money approach is becoming a lot more common across Africa, it looks like the first sort of arrangement between a Mozambican mobile money service and an external remittances service.
Locally, it wasn’t just Mukuru that jumped at it. The approach that has also been explored by EcoCash with other remittance services like WorldRemit, which has built an extensive footprint in emerging markets using the direct to mobile money route. EcoCash’s partnership with Western Union has also exemplified this approach.