After years of rapid growth in Africa we’re about to enter the age of Mobile Money 2.0

In the centre of Gauteng Province, a reluctant winter sun paints the Roodepoort sky with the day’s first semblance of warmth. Amongst lush flora in suburban utopia—Fairlands, an apt name—the gentle whirr of the heating AC quietly dominates the room. A wall of pixels is the centerpiece of attention, as a business analyst sips her coffee and closely watches the graphs.

The city of Kampala, an hour ahead of South African time, is fast approaching the peak of mobile money usage for the day. Even a few minutes of downtime can be costly in a country where $34 million moves through an intricate digital highway every day, and you’re the one in charge of traffic control.

The MTN Group Innovation Centre is a vibrant campus in the Johannesburg metropolitan area with hundreds of invisible hands gently maneuvering the silent but tremendous beast.

MTN Group HQ — 14th Avenue, Fairlands, Roodepoort, Gauteng Province, South Africa

In Uganda, MTN enjoys over half the market share for mobile money, enabling a generation of people to access formal financial services for the first time.

Across its 15 mobile money operating companies, MTN Group seems to dominate the African continental market for mobile financial services. Riding a strong brand and an increasing significance in the daily life of the average citizen, it is difficult to ignore the masterpiece they have built.

Making money moves

There is nowhere else in the world that moves more money on mobile phones than Sub-Saharan Africa. The region is currently responsible for an astonishing 45.6% of mobile money activity in the world—an estimate of at least $26.8 billion in transaction value in 2018 alone—this figure excludes bank operated solutions.

Mobile money operators like MTN, who also own the mobile network, typically charge in between 0.5%–3% for their various digital services, a small price to pay for the convenience.

Victoria Island, Lagos

A few thousand miles away, the last few bytes of an API cal