MFS Africa founder and CEO, Dare Okoudjou, speaks on solving the problem of interoperability within mobile money through using the MFS Hub
Could you briefly give African Review readers an overview of MFS Africa?
We connect African consumers to the global digital economy, making it possible for anyone to transact with anyone else, using only a mobile phone. MFS Africa is the largest digital payment network in Africa, connecting more than 180mn mobile wallets across the continent.
Our MFS Hub provides a “one-stop-shop” for anyone looking to expand their money transfer, financial services, or e-commerce business across Africa. Our core business is to provide simple and relevant digital payment solutions to our clients, who include mobile networks, money transfer operators, banks and merchants. Through our hub, our clients can allow any of their users to transact with any other users, irrespective of their network operator, country or currency.
What inspires you, and what is the vision and mission of MFS Africa?
I’m inspired by two things: the incredible innovation and potential I see coming from Africa, and the transformative power of technology. MFS Africa brings those two together, by leveraging the power of mobile technology to change lives and create a positive impact on the continent. Having been on both sides of the remittance experience myself, I understand the frustrations of sending and receiving money to and within Africa.
For me, this isn’t theoretical – I’m driven by a desire to solve problems for my family and families like mine. What I set out to achieve with MFS Africa was to take mobile money to the next level: interoperability. The MFS Hub allows partners to transact across networks, borders, and currencies through a single point of connection. We’ve made it just as easy to send money across platforms and borders as it is to make an international phone call. Our vision is a world in which national borders are as irrelevant to making payments as they are currently for telecommunications. And we are well on our way to realising that vision.
Why have you decided to partner and collaborate with this year’s Global Money Transfer Summit (GMTS)?
Africa is in many ways at the forefront of payments and fintech innovation, yet suffers from some of the most expensive and opaque remittance prices in the world. Our mission as a company is to transform that reality, and this conference is about bringing together the people who can help us do that.
We partnered with the GMTS to explore the challenges, opportunities and innovations that are redefining the remittances industry and wider fintech sector, and also to share our vision of affordable, accessible remittances to and within Africa with the wider industry. By now, many people are familiar with the impact of mobile money in Africa, yet digital channels are still underutilised when it comes to remittances and other cross-border payments. Together, remittances and mobile money have enormous potential to drive financial inclusion, and this year’s GMTS will go beyond remittances to shed light on their role as a springboard to enabling access to additional financial services.
Remittances are a remarkable entry point for fintech in Africa, in particular, because the service is in high demand, it’s familiar to end users, and it’s best served through technology. Our gateway model has opened possibilities for fintech players, banks, and merchants wishing to connect to multiple mobile wallet systems through a single integration – far more efficient than a proliferation of point-to-point connections.
We’re thrilled to partner with the International Association of Money Transfer Networks to welcome the wider industry to Africa for the very first time, and we’re looking forward to sharing our vision of a seamlessly connected continent with all attendees. We have been at the forefront of this hub model, and the partnership with GMTS 2019 is also prolific and symbolic for us as the great mobile money and remittances story is right here in Africa.
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