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GSMA Mobile World Congress: Africa embraces mobility

Ian Grant

Africa is showing Europe the way to mobilise banking and shopping transactions across national borders.

Kuwait-based Zain group, which runs mobile networks in 22 sub-Saharan and Middle Eastern countries, is using a smartcard technology from Paris-based Oberthur Technologies to provide end-to-end security solutions for mobile commerce services, including a security platform and SIM applications for secure payment transactions.

Zain has launched the application under the name Zap to 100 million people in East Africa. The service is immediately available to customers in Kenya and Tanzania, and will be rolled out across Africa and the Middle East this year.

In partnership with local and international banks, Zap enables Zain customers to use their mobile phone to settle bills and pay for goods and services, transfer money between friends and family, withdraw cash, top up airtime accounts, send airtime to Zain customers in East Africa, and manage bank accounts.

Zap will also be part of Zain's One Network service, which allows travelling customers to move across geographic borders without roaming surcharges, top up their mobile phone with locally purchased cards and receive calls free.

Zain Africa CEO Chris Gabriel said, "By enabling people to use their mobile phones as mobile wallets, we hope to deliver lasting benefits not just for our customers, but also for the economies of Africa."


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