Huawei, Unitel, Mobile Money and financial inclusion

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Thus, more or less “of kashêxe”, without many people realizing it, history was made in the development of our country: from August 25th of this year, people can now send money to relatives, friends or business partners through of the UNITEL network. You don't even need to have a bank account, just have a phone number for this operator. History is made because, suddenly, the approximately 11 million users of the mobile operator enter the national financial system without further ado.

This service – launched on 23 August in Luanda – was made possible by a partnership between UNITEL and Chinese technology giant Huawei, which provides the technology support. This platform “enables mobile payment platforms and services with its innovative technologies, R&D capability, expertise and ecosystem, with the aim of providing a secure, reliable and convenient service to local customers with a first-class experience”, it reads. in the press release distributed to the press at the time.

And what does this mean exactly? It means that anyone can move between 25 and 300.000 Kwanzas at a time without needing to have a bank account. You can send money to another person or company, pay for water, energy or other services quickly and securely, without the need for any of the bureaucracy required to open a bank account. Better, without the risks of sending money through a carrier or something similar. Through the platform provided by Huawei, just dial *449# and the UNITEL number, which together act as a bank account number. When the money is sent through this route, the beneficiary receives an instant message on his phone and can contact any UNITEL agent in any of the 18 provinces and 164 Angolan municipalities.

In my travels around the country, I have often felt anguished about the lack or deficient service of the financial system in the interior. I have been to municipalities that do not have a single bank branch and employees have to go to other locations, sometimes tens or even hundreds of kilometers away, which reduces their frequency in the service. Trading in these locations is done entirely with cash and is literally impossible to ship without a carrier. All that is now completely surpassed thanks to this UNITEL-Huawei partnership. Not only will people in cities be able to send money to relatives and relatives in municipalities and villages quickly and safely – this is where history is made – but huge amounts of money will also return to the financial circuit and no longer be out of business. banks, as it happens now. Finally, it can be said, we are entering the digital economy and the consequent financial inclusion. No traumas or “kigilas”.

Another facilitating factor of this platform provided by Huawei is that all current UNITEL agents, from the most sophisticated stores to the “mamadus”, can be “mobile money” agents. And that brings another advantage: much of the money in the informal circuit under the control of these commercial actors will also go into the formal circuits. In other words, financial inclusion will be added to the breaking of important informality factors that affect our economy.

Since the confinement began due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been advocating that Huawei's technological proposals provide an opportunity for the socio-economic and productive development of the country and Angolans, as they not only offer the ability to remotely perform functions that previously required proximity or presence, as they still guarantee greater effectiveness. This entry into the digital economy via “mobile money” seems to be just the first of many steps. Just like the cell phone and the ATM card, everything indicates that, in a matter of months, the services provided by this UNITEL – Huawei partnership will become part of the daily lives of Angolans.


Article written by Celso Malavoloneke , published in MenosFios with the authorization of its press office.

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