Africell partners with USAID to grow mobile money in Angola

$5 million initiative will increase financial inclusion in Angola by driving mobile money understanding and adoption 

Image: U.S. Ambassador to Angola and São Tomé e Príncipe, Tulinabo S. Mushingi, and PGII Senior Advisor Danae Pauli attended the official launch at the Africell headquarters in Luanda. Angolan Secretary of State for Technical and Professional Learning, Gildo Matias, Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Alice de Almeida, and National Director of Business and Planning, Laercio Cândido, also attended the launch, as well as representatives from international agencies, civil society, the private sector, and local media.

Africell and the U.S. Government Agency for International Development (USAID) are partnering to increase financial inclusion in Angola by accelerating the growth of mobile money.

The almost $5 million initiative will see Afrimoney (Africell’s mobile money platform) and USAID extend mobile money tools and services to under-served populations in Angola, including women, people in rural areas and those otherwise excluded from mainstream financial institutions.

According to the GSMA’s Mobile Money Prevalence Index, Angola’s mobile money sector has significant growth potential. The Afrimoney-USAID partnership – titled ‘Dinheiro Digital é Melhor’ (translating as ‘Mobile Money is Better’) – will close the gap by recruiting agents, fuelling a merchant ecosystem, and promoting digital and financial literacy through targeted educational campaigns.

Speaking at the partnership’s launch, U.S. Ambassador to Angola Tulinabo S. Mushingi highlighted the opportunities presented by mobile money. “Digital financial tools and mobile money have emerged as powerful enablers, breaking down barriers and reaching those previously excluded from the formal financial system”, he said. “This revolution in the way we access and use financial services has yet to fully come to Angola; however, by teaming up with USAID, Africell and Afrimoney are well positioned to change this”.

The development impact of mobile money is proven. Mobile money connects unbanked populations into mainstream financial systems, allowing people to spend, save, earn and transfer safely and efficiently even if they don’t have bank accounts. 58.6% of Angolan men and 41.4% of Angola women have access to formal financial institutions. The expansion of mobile money will therefore be particularly beneficial to women, the majority of whom currently rely on cash transactions.

“Mobile money in Angola is at an inflection point”, says Gonçalo Farias, Chairman of Afrimoney Angola. “It has huge potential to make both a social and economic impact, but serious investment is needed. Our partnership with USAID will boost mobile money in Angola by allowing us to enlist more agents, engage more actively with consumers, and build a culture of trust around digital payments. We are grateful to the Government of Angola for creating conditions in which this work is possible”.

Africell is the only US-owned mobile network operator in Africa. The Africell-USAID partnership is connected to the US Government’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), a wide-ranging campaign led by The White House to mobilise private sector investment in emerging markets. One PGII focus area is the ‘Lobito Corridor’ encompassing Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia. Africell already operates in Angola and DRC, and the collaborative effort by Afrimoney and USAID to advance digital and financial development in Angola represents clear progress for the PGII.