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Central Africa cements mobile money interoperability

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Africa , 21 Apr 2020
The Bank of Central African States issues fresh directive to facilitate full telco, commercial bank interaction.
The Bank of Central African States issues fresh directive to facilitate full telco, commercial bank interaction.

Mobile money transactions can now be carried out across different networks and banks in the central African sub-region, according to the Bank of Central African States (BEAC).

Since 2015, interbank electronic operations have been possible following the introduction of the Interbank Electronic Banking Group of Central Africa (GIMAC), with 45 banks signing up.

However no common framework in place and unfair competition has hampered efforts to fully establish interoperability in the sub-region.

Today, the BEAC, the sole central bank within the membership-based Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), is driving full integration between mobile money systems run by telecommunications services providers and commercial bank systems.

Effectively, an MTN MoMo user in Cameroon should be able to directly send money into an Airtel Money account in Gabon, for example.

The move is also expected to eradicate double payment of fees applied to transactions.

Abbas Mahamat Tolli, Governor of BEAC, said, “On March 27, 2020, the Monetary Policy Committee supported the initiative to invite payment services providers to lower the cost of transactions of electronic money and digital payments systems within CEMAC.”

In 2018, BEAC passed an order requiring all mobile money networks and electronic money transfer networks to report their transaction statistics to the Bank and GIMAC.

Tolli explained that the new interoperability system will enable financial establishments to manage transaction records amongst themselves, as well as ease interbank settlement processes.

The system also applies to other electronic payment methods including credit and debit card transactions.

The BEAC’s Monetary Policy Committee wants to encourage cashless financial engagement and thereby help to contain the spread of Coronavirus among member countries, which include Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

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