East Africa: Mobile as Africa's debit card

Feb 19, 2014

In countries where mobile money has been particularly successful like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the next unfolding wave of growth is payments integration. A new company, Yo Uganda, facilitates payment between banks and the mobile money payment operators.

In countries where mobile money has been particularly successful like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the next unfolding wave of growth is payments integration. A new company, Yo Uganda, facilitates payment between banks and the mobile money payment operators.

Arnold Sentuwa Luwugga of Yo Uganda explained that the company is "developing technology and mobile solutions for businesses and NGOs". It has customers in Uganda and other African countries and is currently working on starting operations in Burundi.

Several financial organisations are already clients, including Opportunity Bank and EFC Bank. NGOs are also taking part, using the service to deliver social payments and per diems - daily allowances for expenses - to the phones of beneficiaries. Mobile operators have agents nearby to make the cash easily available.

The service also offers traditional utility bills payments and is integrated with ISP Smile. Around 500 and 50 merchants participate in the online payment platform and the mobile platform respectively. Yo also offers a mobile wallet function allowing customers to pay for services. A Multiplex parking facility in Kampala has already counted thousands of transactions.

Mobile money transfers in Uganda totalled around US$ 6 billion in 2013, but have mostly been limited to person to person transactions so far. In 2014, growth should come from transactions involving businesses.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801695033-ADNFCR