Wave, Senegal’s mobile money platform became the first Fintech (non-bank, non-telecom operator) operating in multiple West African Economic and the Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries to be granted an E-money (EME) license by the Central Bank of the (8) West African States—BCEAO. The Central Bank of the West African States (BCEAO) is the common central bank of the eight member states which form the WAEMU: Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, and Togo.
The E-money license by the Central Bank signals a growing recognition of a new age of financial inclusion models led by Fintechs such as Wave.
Wave currently operates its mobile money business through sponsor banks. The new E-money license allows Wave to directly offer its current suite of financial products to customers. Additionally, it will allow Wave to diversify and offer more financial services like merchant payments, savings, credit, and remittances in collaboration with other partners in the WAEMU financial ecosystem.
Speaking on this development, the CEO of Wave Drew Durbin said, “We are excited to receive our E-money issuer license. We are grateful to the BCEAO who has been supportive of our vision to offer radically inclusive and affordable financial services. They have witnessed us grow into the largest mobile money provider in Senegal with over 6 million active users in just 4 years, and that’s only the beginning of customer-first mobile money in WAEMU.”
Ms. Coura Carine Sene, General Manager for Wave in WAEMU, said, “This is a momentous occasion for us. Despite being 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 with other mobile money providers on an equal footing. The shift in the licensing structure will benefit both our customers and agent network in the long run. We expect new products to drive customer growth. Thus, benefiting our customers, while increasing the take-home income of our agents.
“In partnership with the national directions of BCEAO, we hope to extend this license very quickly to the other WAEMU countries so that our entire customer base in the region can benefit equally.”
Wave’s mobile money product which first launched in Senegal in 2018, has already disrupted the multi-decade old mobile money industry in the West African Monetary Union (WAEMU) and beyond. Wave’s unique business model and best in class technology-led approach to financial inclusion enables it to offer free bill payments, free cash-in, cash-out with only a 1% transfer fee—making it up to 70% cheaper than the traditional pricing structure of its competitors.
The senegal-based fintech unicorn is excited by the opportunity this new license brings in realizing our vision of a cashless Africa.
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About Wave Mobile Money Group
Wave is on a mission to make Africa the first cashless continent. Wave Mobile Money offers radically inclusive and extremely affordable mobile financial solutions to millions of users across Africa. We build solutions that allow our customers an affordable way to save, transfer and borrow the money they need to achieve their dreams. We take pride in putting our customers first.
About Wave Digital Finance
Wave Digital Finance is a subsidiary of Wave Mobile Group and the recipient of the EME license by the BCEAO. The ambition of Wave Digital Finance is to issue electronic money from Senegal and to establish strategic distribution partnerships in the WAEMU zone, beginning with Senegal.