Mobile money has replaced the old money transfer business, and with it the way SMEs now operate in Cameroon. “Before I had to go to my suppliers every time I needed goods, now they are happy to deliver once they get paid through mobile money,” says Ntungwen Derek, owner of Derico Shopping at Foncha Street, Bamenda.
“When I buy drinks from Guinness and other distributors I don’t have to carry money around, which is safe. I also earn commissions as a money transfer partner which helps to pay the rent.” He adds.
Three major telecommunications networks in Cameroon, MTN, Orange, and Nextel have close to 20 million subscriptions. These accounts can send and receive money, settle utility bills, buy goods and services, pay school fees and transfer money across Central Africa. The IMF country report for 2018 says uptake of mobile money is at 29 per cent, with the volume of transactions rising from FCFA 7.5 billion in 2012 to FCFA 3.447 billion in 2017. The IMF estimates that mobile money transactions accounted for about 17.5 per cent of GDP in 2017.
In addition to reduced costs, mobile money has drastically reduced waiting time, converting long queues to productive time for entrepreneurs and employees. Five out of fourteen Cameroonian banks provide mobile banking services to their clients can complete basic transactions where ever they are, but the biggest move so far is the creation of Mowali, a joint venture between MTN Mobile Money and Orange Money that will make transactions possible across 22 sub-Saharan countries and 338 million mobile money accounts. In a move that demonstrates how pervasive the service has become, the National Social Insurance Fund, CNPS, will start paying benefits through MTN Mobile Money.
Mobile money and online payments make life easier, but there is always the question of security. That’s why platforms like Export Portal, an online international marketplace, secure their platforms with blockchain technology. This ensures payment information is safe and secure throughout the entire trade cycle.
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