A major marketing campaign is currently underway in Angola to create awareness about a mobile money service called E-Kwanza BAI, which was launched this month by the Banco Angolano de Investimentos (BAI, Angolan Bank of Investments).
E-Kwanza BAI will allow customers to transfer money to their families and friends anywhere in the country and facilitate the payment of goods and services via a cellphone, the The Luanda-headquartered bank says, adding that the service is easy, quick and secure.
Despite its status of Africa’s second-largest oil producer, Angola seems to be dragging its feet in terms of ICT penetration compared to its regional counterparts.
But lately the government has woken up like a sleeping giant by launching major ICT projects. The corporate sector also seems to be doing its part of work to put the country to the crossroads of ICTs.
Maria Ferreira Silva, a hawker who heard about E-Kwanza Bai from her friend, said the new electronic payment method would make life easier for people like her who are used to carry stashes of cash every day to purchase stock.
But, perhaps there are people who are more excited than Silva. Antonio Cassenda, a businessman who sends money every day to his family back in his hometown of Benguela, is also excited about the product.
"I´m going to register first thing Monday morning to start making use of the service, and also ask my family to do likewise," he said.
One does not need to be a BAI customer to use the service. Anyone can register (free of charge) in a BAI counter nationwide and activate his or her account via an Interactive Voice Server (IVR) from where instructions will be sent by SMS.
Many Angolans do not have a bank account - a problem that seems to hamper the financial inclusion of many African people, Mobile money has come to the rescue of the unbanked people to ease their burden of not having a bank account.
Founded in 1996, BAI has 89 branches in Angola, and is also present in Portugal, Cape Verde and Sao Tomé e Príncipe, and it also has a Representative Office in South Africa.