A United Nations agency and the African Union (AU) are pushing for cross-border mobile money payments to boost electronic trade on the continent.
The AU has been piloting the use of a common payment system in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and is scheduled to roll out the same across Africa by the end of this year.
The move is intended to facilitate interconnectivity between registered mobile money account owners within Kenya and across the continent, totaling 277 million according to a 2017 report. These represent 140 mobile money schemes across 39 countries.
The roll-out of the common payment system will coincide with the commencement of trade under the Continental Free Trade Area expected later this year.
The agreement aims to create a single continent-wide market for goods and services and ease the free movement of business people and investments.
The Continental Free Trade Area will start operation as soon as the AU receives the minimum ratifications required and concludes the negotiations on tariff liberalisation.