Microsoft 4Afrika and Skrill have come together and have launched a new e-commerce portal. The collabo has integrated with mobile network operators (MNOs), the portal enables Africans to use their mobile wallets to buy from global internet brands, access free educational content and use Microsoft software.
This new form of partnership between mobile payment systems, network operators and merchants is the first of its kind in Africa and was announced at the 17th annual AfricaCom conference. The portal will be fully live by December 2014. MTN and Rocket Internet and Millicom have a similar deal and utilize MTN Mobile money for payments.
Nilesh Pandya, SVP of emerging markets at Skrill, commented: “Disposable incomes are rapidly increasing, making discretionary spend on e-commerce an immediate reality. These conditions deliver the perfect storm for a massive surge in consumer demand for digital payments.”
Skrill enables users to make payments using mobile wallets. They can buy products and services from the platform’s extensive global network of merchants, including video on demand business iROKOtv, music download and streaming business Spinlet and a range of social gaming providers.
By logging into the portal, consumers are also given access to special product offers and discounts on goods and services exclusively available through this purchase route and their mobile provider.
E-commerce transactions do not incur any additional cost for the consumer and specific fees charged to merchants, relating to this market have been determined by Skrill to reflect the opportunity for growth, tempered with the challenges inherent in a new market. By partnering with merchants, Skrill can ensure that their products and services are available in some of the fastest growing markets in the world.
Microsoft now comes in by providing free access to One Drive, as well as Outlook email addresses so that users can register accounts with the relevant merchants. Microsoft OneDrive will enable consumers to store up to 15G online free of charge. Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative is providing free access to educational content, from basic numeracy games to courses on app development through its virtual academy.
Frank McCosker, General Manager, Affordable Access and Smart Financing, Microsoft 4Afrika, added: “As part of 4Afrika’s effort towards affordable access, this portal seeks to bring Africa’s offline economies online, enabling the continent to take part in the global digital revolution, which in turn, will drive innovation, inclusion, skills and trade.”
According to a World Bank study, in low- and middle-income countries every 10% increase in broadband penetration, accelerates economic growth by 1.38%.