BBC Africa: Why Can’t We Send Money from One African Mobile Number to Any Other Instantly?

An online Twitter conversation initiated by BBC Africa business editor, Larry Madowo, offered some great insights into the challenges facing the African continent when it comes to mobile money.

The conversation saw comments from different African countries offering opinions on solutions available to the problem.

While Kenya, and by extension Africa, is considered home of mobile money, there is little in terms of mobile money interoperability across the huge African continent. Mobile money services on the continent, from MPESA to MTN Money, are all independent money transfer services that cannot be used to send money amongst themselves.

SEE ALSOA Continental Shift: The Success of Mobile Money in Africa

As a result, Africa has one of the most fragmented mobile money services anywhere in the world. The responses and solutions offered were diverse and fragmented begging the question on whether a unified mobile money transfer service is available.

A truly intra-Africa mobile money service is achievable, thanks to the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that enable cross-border, near-instant transactions at a fraction of the current services.

By embracing digital currencies, Africa can, once again, pioneer the evolution of mobile money that was ushered back in 2007 with the launch of MPESA. This time however, the movement will not only be African-wide, but global, as cryptocurrencies are proving.


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