Afrimoney: Paving the Way for Mobile Money in Angola

Africell’s Afrimoney bridges formal and informal economies, promoting financial inclusion for Angola’s unbanked population.

Africell Angola, which made its entry into the country’s telecoms landscape in 2022, has unveiled its mobile money service, Afrimoney, in April 2023. This move comes as Angola grapples with a high percentage of unbanked individuals, estimated to be around 50%, and a substantial informal sector. Afrimoney seeks to bridge the gap between the formal and informal economies by offering mobile money services.

Simon Andersson-Manjang, Acting Group Co-Head of Afrimoney, shed light on the challenges faced during market entry, the regulatory environment, and preliminary findings from the launch. As Africell continues to expand its mobile network across Angola, Afrimoney aims to cater to diverse customers and partners, fostering a more inclusive and digitalized financial future for the nation.

The decision to launch Afrimoney in Angola was driven by the country’s financial landscape and the desire to offer greater choice to mobile users. Before Africell’s entry, the telecom market was dominated by a single state-owned player, leaving customers hungry for more options. Additionally, over 80% of the population works in the informal sector, and nearly half have a bank account. Afrimoney aims to serve the underbanked and unbanked, connecting the formal and informal economies.

Despite Angola having well-established banks and some digital financial services, mobile money has not significantly impacted financial inclusion. Africell faced regulatory hurdles, but the positive regulatory environment and cooperation with established players helped resolve these issues.

Afrimoney’s current offerings include core mobile money use-cases like airtime, cash-in, cash-out, P2P transfers, bill, bulk, and merchant payments. The company aims to expand into more advanced products in the medium term and become a catalyst for Angola’s financial ecosystem, collaborating with banks, billers, and merchants. They also intend to support government efforts in digitalizing the economy through payment collections and disbursements.

Afrimoney wants to be a catalyst for the overall financial ecosystem in Angola, connecting and integrating with as many partners as possible, whether they are banks, billers or merchants. We also want to be part of government efforts to further digitalise the economy, both in terms of payment collections and disbursements. We’re looking to eventually approach all types of customers and partners – large and small, urban and rural, private and public – to bring a better digital and financial future to all Angolans. 

Simon Andersson-Manjang, the Acting Group Co-Head, Afrimoney

One of the main challenges Africell faced was explaining mobile money’s concept to the public and potential partners. Building a distribution network before the service’s launch posed another challenge, as agents-to-be were often unfamiliar with the brand and mobile money. Nevertheless, Afrimoney aims to expand and improve communication on mobile money and financial literacy.

As of early June 2023, and after about six weeks of operations, we had just over 400,000 registered customers – all of whom were self-registered. We will continue to ensure that we enlarge this base even while we start focusing on different types of usage and overall customer activations.

Simon Andersson-Manjang, the Acting Group Co-Head, Afrimoney

As Africell continues to roll out GSM services nationwide, the expansion of mobile money services will likely see an increased use of urban-rural transfers. By synchronizing the rollout of GSM and mobile money services, Afrimoney aims to create synergies and capture the market effectively.

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