Ecobank, Orange team up to expand mobile money services in West Africa

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Ecobank and Telecom giant Orange have launched a bank-to-wallet money transfer service that will see customers use their mobile phones to securely transfer money between accounts at any time without the need to go to a distribution point.

The service will be available in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger, adding to the already existing operations that have been established in Mali and in Cameroun since 2015.

The service will also see Ecobank customers access their bank account balance and obtain mini-statements by SMS on their mobile phone sets using the service.

Thierry Millet, Director of Orange Money, Mobile Payment and Contactless said customers will also benefit from the extensive network of thousands of licensed Orange Money vendors in addition to Ecobank’s own high-street branches, considerably increasing the number of withdrawal points.

“This easy-to-use system meets the demands of customers who already have a bank account and who want to use their mobile phones to carry out bank operations, wherever they are in the country and at whatever time of day,” “We are happy to deploy this partnership in large scale,” Millet said at the launch of the service on Monday.

Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Consumer Banking at Ecobank Group said that the bank has seen remarkable success in the volume of bank transfers since the beginning of the partnership between Ecobank and Orange.

“We are confident that this service will also have a great success in the countries where it is going to be applied. It is a platform which highlights the importance of on-line banking and mobile today and to our commitment in bringing convenient banking services to everyone in West Africa,” he said.

Orange Money is now available in 13 countries, including Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius, and Egypt under the name Mobicash.

Orange Money is a service that enables customers to transfer money from their mobile phone to other account-holders across the country and, from certain countries, to users based abroad.

Depending on the country, they can also use the service to pay for utilities like electricity, water or television bills, buy air time for their mobile phones, or benefit from savings or insurance services.

Nigeria remains Africa’s top remittance recipient Nation and hosted the Remit Africa conference in 2015.

The mobile money sector in Sub-Saharan Africa contributed more than US $100 billion to the region’s economy last year, according to the 2015 Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) study. 

According to a recent report by the World Bank, the growth of remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa was projected to slow to 0.9 percent in 2016, amounting to $33 billion. Globally, it is expected to reach $586 billion in 2016, though at a slower growth rate of 0.4% due to economic conditions and is expected to accelerate again to reach an estimated $636 billion in 2017.