MSF Africa, the pan-African digital payments network, has partnered with Mvola, Madagascar’s mobile money provider, to facilitate inbound international money transfers, in a move that will see MFS Africa facilitate MNO to MNO remittances to Madagascar from the rest of Africa.
The deal, aiming to further enhance financial inclusion and enable economic development in the island country, will make MFS Africa the first aggregator to go live with the mobile money wing of Telma, Madagascar’s leading Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), which has a 70% market share, enabling seamless flow of remittances from Europe, the US, and the UK.
According to Group Head of Growth at MFS Africa, Nika Naghavi, “Providing financial services to Madagascar has long been regarded as costly and challenging due to its predominantly rural landscape and infrastructural limitations. This means that consumers in the country have been historically underserved by traditional financial institutions. But, by bringing our ever-expanding API suite to a market leader such as MVola, we will be able to unlock new corridors for international payments to flow seamlessly between Malagasy mobile money accounts and the rest of the world.”
Madagascar currently has over 10 million mobile money accounts, significantly more than the number of traditional bank accounts, with more than a third of the population now able to use mobile money for everything from paying bills and peer-to-peer transactions to saving or borrowing.
Meanwhile, employment abroad continues to represent an attractive opportunity for many Malagasy to support themselves and their families back home. This has resulted in Madagascar being positioned as a strong remittance-receiving market, with France as its biggest sender market. In fact, according to the World Bank, more than $700 million in remittance inflows were reported in the country in 2022.
“This is why it is so important that people in the country are able to instantly receive remittances from their families abroad into their mobile money accounts,” adds Chief Commercial Officer at MVola, Sidali Stiti. “By joining forces with MFS Africa, we will be better able to deliver on our commitment to provide access to affordable and quality financial services to every Malagasy.”
Already connecting the Malagasy diaspora to their families and loved ones back home by processing a substantial number of remittances daily, this integration will provide access to a broader portion of the population. As such, MFS Africa will be able to strengthen its current position in the country and surpass its current market share, unlocking an impressive 100% mobile money market share.
Launched in 2010, MVola contributes to the financial inclusion of all Malagasy by giving them access to digital services, such as bill and merchant payments, domestically. In 2018. MVola became the first Electronic Money Institution in Madagascar and obtained a banking license in 2021, becoming the country’s first digital bank.