On the Money News - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- In South Africa, banking group Absa and cellular network operator Vodacom have signed a “multimillion-rand agreement”, which they say will “accelarate the pace of mobile innovation and expand the range of banking and mobile services on offer to consumers”. Products the companies are developing together include a “tap-and-go” payment system and machine-to-machine (telemetry) solutions in the insurance field. The two also plan to offer bundled mobile and financial service offerings.

- Reuters reports that the Moroccan government has cancelled the sale of part of its 30% stake in Maroc Telecom, the second time it has done so in less than a year. The proposed sale of a 7% stake prompted opposition parties to summon the country’s finance and economy minister to parliament for an explanation, and on Friday the finance ministry confirmed that the tender had been cancelled.

- In Uganda, Voluntary Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) will soon stop using cash in their financial transactions thanks to MTN's mobile money service, which will boost the groups' savings by providing accounts where members can safely deposit their funds.

- Speaking in an interactive session with journalists in Lagos, Logan Pather, the new Chief Executive Officer of Starcomms,  a CDMA operator in Nigeria, said that the emergence of LTE will imply that both GSM and CDMA operators can co-exist on this new wireless platform. The Starcomms CEO noted that merger option is currently inevitable as CDMA control less than 10 percent of the telecoms market.

- Central Bank of Kenya governor Njuguna Ndung'u said the rapid expansion of mobile money services in the country came with systemic risks that need to be addressed. "To date, over 17.8million Kenyans transfer over Sh3.1billion to each other with over 1.1million transactions," the governor said. He added that money transfer systems must also be able to prevent money laundering and withstand access from unauthorized personnel such as hackers. "We (should also) have operating platforms within reach and disaster recovery sites in secure locations and tested at all times."