Mobile operators Orange Group and MTN Group have formed a mobile wallet joint venture to support interoperable payments across Africa.

Dubbed Mowali, the new venture is a mobile wallet that will enable fund transfers between mobile money accounts issued by any mobile money provider.

The money transfers through Mowali are said to be completed in real time and in a low-cost manner.

MTN group president and CEO Rob Shuter said: “One of MTN’s goals is to accelerate the penetration of mobile financial service in Africa, Mowali is one such vehicle that will help us achieve that objective.

“Furthermore, co-operation and partnerships that help us accelerate the pace of development and overcome some of the scale, scope and complexity of challenges that society faces are key.”

Initially, the service can be availed by Orange Money and MTN Mobile Money customers. This will offer Mowali access to 100 million mobile money accounts in 22 sub-Saharan Africa regions.

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Plans are on to gradually expand the service to 338 million mobile money accounts across the continent by enabling interoperability between other digital financial providers.

Orange chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard said: “This solution embodies Orange’s ambition to be a leading player in the digital transformation of the continent.

“By joining forces with another of Africa’s market leaders, MTN, we aim to accelerate the pace of this transformation in a way that will change the lives of our customers by providing them with simpler, safer and more advantageous services.”