The provision of mobile money services has been a dynamic and fast-growing sector in Africa. Beyond money transfer, the industry in different countries has evolved to provide additional services such as bill and merchant payments as well as financial services such as credit, insurance and savings. In East Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya have at least one mobile money provider offering a savings and credit facility.
In April 2017, the COMESA Competition Commission (CCC) conditionally approved a large merger between Brasseries Internationales Holdings (BIH) Ltd and Carlsberg Malawi Ltd (Carlsberg). BIH is the holding company of Castel Group, a French beverages company. The second party to the merger, Carlsberg, is a beverages manufacturer participating solely in the Malawian market in Africa. The merger spans four countries: Ethiopia, Malawi, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Anthea Paelo and Ulungile Magubane
In June this year, Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Zimbabwean telecommunications company Econet Wireless Group, announced its intentions to purchase Neotel, a network operator in South Africa. The deal is in partnership with Royal Bafokeng Holdings and is worth a reported R6.5 billion (US$ 430 million).
The complexity and range of mobile money-related services provided in various African countries has grown significantly from ‘basic’ money transfer between people with customers storing currency in a mobile wallet via a handset, to include savings and loan products, insurance and bill payments.
South Africa has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world with a Gini coefficient that has remained around 0.65 over the past decade.1 In addition, South Africa’s unemployment rate, using the narrow definition, at 26.4% is very high.2 Much of this has been attributed to the legacy of apartheid during which the majority of South Africans were economically marginalised with few economic opportunities.