In 2019, the Central Bank of Angola estimated financial inclusion below 30%. To raise the bar, in 2020 it agreed to grant a Mobile Money license to Unitel. But impatient to see the segment grow rapidly, the government is considering opening it up to a renowned operator.
Angola is turning its eyes to the mobile operator Safaricom. Its Minister of Economy and Planning, Sérgio Santos, has invited the Kenyan telecoms market leader to invest in the country. It is M-Pesa, Safaricom’s mobile payment solution, which is of particular interest in Angola. Thursday, June 17, Sérgio Santos exchanged by videoconference with Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, the general manager of M-Pesa Africa, and Ogugua Adegbite, director of strategy and international expansion of M-Pesa Africa, on the ways and means of bring the service to the country.
During the meeting organized by Sianga Abílio the Angolan Ambassador to Kenya, he indicated that nearly 80% of the Angolan economy is in the informal sector. He recognized the need for Mobile Money to bank this sector and enable the financial inclusion of millions of people. He invited Safaricom to participate in a seminar to be held soon in Angola and to take this opportunity to explore possibilities for partnerships in the country.
Angola’s interest in Safaricom’s M-Pesa solution stems from the low level of financial inclusion recorded in the country and the slowness of local telecom operators to invest in the Mobile Money segment. Angola has a banking rate below 30%. The National Bank of Angola (BNA), in the national plan for financial inclusion, wants to increase the number of citizens with access to basic financial services to 50% of the population by the end of 2022.
In December 2019, during the 9th edition of the “Forum on the challenges of governance in the digital age in Africa”, held in December 2019, Vera Daves, then Angolan Minister of Finance, already argued that only Mobile Money would allow Angola to achieve the desired level of financial inclusion.
Beyond improving the financial inclusion of the Angolan informal sector, the government also sees in M-Pesa a chance to increase competitiveness in the national mobile money segment where the telecoms company Unitel has invested since the year. last and to derive new financial income for the public treasury.