Wave obtains a BCEAO license to offer digital financial services

The push for financial inclusion in Francophone West Africa has received a major boost. Wave Digital Finance, a subsidiary of Wave Mobile Money Group (Wave), has been authorized by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) to provide digital financial services.

Wave’s services are available in eight French-speaking West African countries – Benin, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo – which form the West African Economic and Monetary Union. (UEMOA).

The company, which offers free bill payments, free cash-ins and withdrawals and only charges a 1% transfer fee, has relied on third-party financial institutions like United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Ecobank, to render services to its customers which have exploded in four years due to the company’s service fees, which are about 70% cheaper than those of its competitors.

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“We are delighted to receive our e-money issuer license. We are grateful to the BCEAO who supported our vision to offer radically inclusive and affordable financial services. They have seen us become the largest mobile money provider in Senegal with over 6 million active users in just 4 years, and this is just the beginning of customer-centric mobile money in WAEMU said Wave CEO Drew Durbin. mentioned.

Wave has been a popular choice in WAEMU and has disrupted the mobile money market in the bloc, forcing mobile-based financial services like Orange to cut their service fees by 50%.

The Central Bank’s e-money license signals growing recognition of a new era of financial inclusion models led by Fintechs such as Wave.

In addition, it will allow Wave to diversify and offer more financial services such as merchant payments, savings, credit and remittances in collaboration with other partners in the financial ecosystem of India. WAEMU.

Ms. Coura Carine Sene, Managing Director of Wave in UEMOA, said that in addition to other benefits, the license will help the startup compete with other mobile money providers.

“This is a momentous opportunity for us. Although we are one of the largest mobile money providers in Senegal and other WAEMU countries, we were limited in what we could offer our customers. We will now be able to compete against other mobile money providers on a level playing field. The change in licensing structure will benefit both our customers and our agent network in the long run. We expect more New products drive customer growth, benefiting our customers, while increasing our agents’ net income.

“In partnership with the national directorates of the BCEAO, we hope to very quickly extend this license to other WAEMU countries so that all of our customers in the region can benefit equally,” she said. .

Obtaining a license in the remaining seven countries of the block could be the magic wand Wave needs to stay ahead of its competitors.

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