The U.K. banking technology provider Monitise PLC said Thursday that it has struck a partnership with a Kenyan payments network operator aimed at creating a mobile financial services system in Africa and the Middle East.
Monitise, of London, said the deal with Paynet Group of Nairobi would make Monitise software available to banks and wireless carriers in the two regions.
Monitise's software enables people to use their phones as mobile wallets; they can load funds into their accounts, and then transfer the money to other people, pay bills or withdraw it later. Users do not need to have bank accounts.
Paynet operates an electronic payments network that links 35 banks in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Monitise said it expects the mobile wallet service to be available in the regions early next year.
Mobile payment services have emerged as an important financial tool in the developing world, especially Africa, where people are more likely to have mobile phones than bank accounts.
"Paynet and Monitise share the same vision of the social and economic benefits which mobile money can bring to developing countries. Paynet's established presence in East Africa and its expansion into the Middle East is a natural fit for our mobile money platform," Alastair Lukies, Monitise's chief executive, said in a press release.
Monitise operates a joint venture in the United States with Metavante Technologies Inc.; Visa Inc. purchased a 14% stake in Monitise in June.