Etisalat Group, the leading telecoms operator in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, launched a mobile phone-based commerce service through subsidiary Etisalat Moov that will give much of Togo’s population access to banking for the very first time.
“This launch represents the latest chapter in our work to push the boundaries of mobile communications by bringing banking to the unbanked in many of our global markets,” said Khalifa Al Shamsi, Chief Digital Services Officer at Etisalat Group. “For any market in the world, the combination of services we are providing would be exciting; when set in the African context, the implications are especially profound.
“Expansion of our mobile commerce service to Togo is continuation of our journey to provide market-relevant, transformational mobile financial services across our global markets,” he said.
Togo’s first mobile commerce service, known as Flous, which means “money” in several languages, enables customers to use their mobile phones as digital wallets. With Flous, customers can pay for bills, goods and services; transfer money with friends and family; withdraw and deposit cash; top-up mobile phones and manage bank accounts. The service is offered in partnership with Banque Atlantique.
“Research has shown that mobile commerce services can help lower the cost of money transfer, increase the flow of money by making it easier to send small amounts and give those without bank accounts secure financial management,” said Djibril Outtara, the Managing Director of Etisalat Moov in Togo. “By providing market-relevant services, we are delivering lasting benefits not just to our customers, but also to the economy of Togo itself.”
After signing up, Etisalat and the Banque Atlantique will provide customers with virtual bank accounts, enabling them to use their mobile phones as debit cards and manage funds directly from their handsets. The service, which requires a password for each transaction, is designed to give customers security and flexibility, enabling customers to access money 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Service is accessible on any handset from the most basic to the most sophisticated mobile device.
Guy Martial Awona, CEO of Banque Atlantique Togo, said: “We’re extremely excited to partner with Etisalat Moov on this ground-breaking initiative. Mobile commerce has the potential to transform banking in Africa and will help overcome many of the challenges to providing banking services to remote and rural communities. Even in the cities, it will replace notes and coins for many everyday transactions.”
This year for the second year in a row, Flous was presented with the “Best Mobile Money Product” award at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Earlier this month the service also received a special commendation from the Financial Times and the World Bank for the 2013 Global Sustainable Finance award in the category “Technology in Sustainable Finance”.
Etisalat currently serves 143 million customers in 15 countries throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia; Flous is already operating in the majority of the operations.