The Mobile Money Open Application Program Interface (API) will now be accessed by third parties; the expectation is to enable innovation around payment systems; MTN has also launched a Startup Fund valued at Shs1bn and unveiled the MTN Open API App Challenge
An Open API platform enables developers and programmers to get free access to MTN mobile money proprietary software platform. MTN Mobile Money is the most widely used mobile money platform in Uganda. Developers can now access it, create products that ease payment options and leverage the 10M of MTN clients registered on Mobile Money.
“This is an exciting development for the Ugandan start-ups ecosystem. Innovators will now be able to develop applications that ease the customer experience in terms of mobile money payments. We do hope that this move will spur innovation in the developer community around the country because this is the first time this is being done here,” said Ms. Elsa Muzzolini, the General Manager, Mobile Financial Services MTN Uganda.
In January 2018, MTN Uganda and Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) entered a partnership intended to drive customer growth and activity by facilitating a wider range of mobile wallet applications for all customers through open APIs. According to CGAP, open APIs have the potential to further drive financial inclusion, which is already being accelerated by the usage of mobile money.
“Our expectations are that this decision will enable innovators to monetise their products, ensure that there is fast turnaround of innovations to get to market and improve the value created for innovators and entrepreneurs, why not a Ugandan Ebay or Amazon in the next few months” Ms. Muzzolini added.
The MTN Mobile Money API will be accessed by developers online through http://MoMoDeveloper.MTN.com/. This takes away the process previously where developers had to submit paperwork physically to MTN Uganda and to proceed to a lengthy standard integration. The online system provides an option where before developer’s product goes live, they can test it using a sandbox available at no cost on the website.
MTN also announced the launch of Ugx1bn (US$270,000) Startup Fund that will be accessed by local technology start-ups in Uganda. The fund is expected to provide a financial boost to startups that participate in the MTN innovation challenge series.
The first of these is the MTN Open API Challenge starts on 3 December 2018. Participants will make their entries on the innovation challenge website.
“It has been 20 years since we started operating in Uganda and our role in this economy has been evolving. Today, opening the Mobile Money API further emphasises our ambition of being a digital company. Ugandan developers now have the opportunity to build products that will enhance financial inclusion, improved customer experience when making payments and improve the movement of virtual money,” said Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Uganda CEO.
Adding, “The Shs1bn commitment we have made towards the MTN Startup Fund also forms part of that ambition to continue supporting local innovators. I encourage as many startups as possible to participate in the several innovation challenges we shall be hosting in order to access funding from the MTN Startup Fund.”
MTN Uganda unveiled Ugx310m (US$81,000) high speed internet connectivity package to the Innovation Village, courtesy of the MTN Foundation. The package includes free internet connectivity for use by young developers and innovators as part of its youth empowerment drive.
There has been a tremendous success in countries like Kenya where some telecom companies have opened up their Mobile Money APIs. MTN Uganda in partnership with several technology and innovation hubs around the country is facilitating the training of developers on how to use the platform. Free training program is available for registration on MTN website.
About MTN Uganda
Launched in 1998, MTN Uganda (www.MTN.co.ug) is the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering Mobile and Fixed telecommunications, Mobile Money Services and Internet Service Provisioning. As at 30th June 2018, MTN Uganda recorded 10.5 million subscribers across Uganda. Visit us at www.mtn.co.ug or follow us on www.youtube.com/mtnug and www.twitter.com/mtnug or www.twitter.com/mtnugpro for assistance.
About the MTN Group
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group (www.MTN.com) is a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 30th June 2018, MTN recorded 223.4million subscribers with 24.1 million active Mobile Money users and 71.2 million active Data users across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Visit us at, www.mtnbusiness.com, www.mtn.com and www.mtnmmo.com.