MTN Uganda has opened up its mobile money access programming interface (API) to third parties, allowing developers create payment options for their businesses.
The open access to the mobile money API platform will enable 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 with over 10 million subscribers.
“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 e-bay or Amazon in the next few months?” said Elsa Muzzolini, the general manager mobile financial services, MTN Uganda.
The MTN mobile money API will be accessed by developers online through http://momodeveloper.mtn.com/. This takes away the process previously used, where developers had to submit paperwork physically to the telecom and the 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.
“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." said Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Uganda chief executive officer.
Vanhelleputte observed that "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."
MTN also announced the launch of a Shs 1bn 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 starting December 3, 2018. Participants will make their entries on the innovation challenge website. At the same function, the MTN Uganda CEO unveiled a Shs 310 million high speed internet connectivity package to the Innovation Village in Ntinda. The package includes free internet connectivity for use by young developers and innovators as part of its youth empowerment drive.
Vanhelleputte said 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.