Strategic Express Union, Express Exchange and Emi Money 2016/2017 Remittance Tombola Campaigns

The routine launch of “Tombola Campaigns” in Cameroon for about 6 years now and by national remittance operators within the first semester of each year has proven to be a productive strategy to boost transaction volumes, profit margins and customer satisfaction. 2016 witnessed 3 major “Tombola” campaigns which were launched by Express Union (Grande Tombola), Emi Money (Big Raffle) and Express Exchange (Transfer More and Win Big!) …all calling on their customers to either remit locally and internationally or pay more utility bills  in order to increase their chances of winning big.

 tombola EU  tombola emi money

tombola Expres ex


From August 2016 to March 2017, the aforementioned operators have conducted 2 raffle draws for their respective Tombola campaigns and the published results record between 75 to 130 winners per region. The prizes awarded to the winners range from premium gifts (cars, HD TV sets, motorbikes, payment vouchers, tricycles, dining tables, bags of cement, etc.) to basic gifts (t-shirts, umbrellas, fans, books, etc.)

It is worth noting that the quality and type of gifts awarded to each winner depends on the total amount of his/her transactions during the campaign period. For example, the premium gifts (cars, home cinemas, dining and seating room sets, etc.) were won by High Income Clients whose total transaction margins superseded FCFA 500 000 whereas the basic gifts (school bag, t-shirts, umbrellas, blenders, etc.) were won by Low Income Clients whose transaction margins fell below FCFA 100 000. We, thus, observe a client-based-strategy implemented by the operators as they aim to reach a specific category of clients.

With regard to the Tombola campaign period, one would also observe that the timelines were set to run for a whole year covering all the pick remittance periods in the market including: Back to School, Christmas, New Year, Youth Day, Women’s Day, Easter, etc. Moreover, given that most people are likely to remit more, and sometimes considerable amounts, during the mentioned periods, their chances of winning, especially, the premium prizes are high. The Tombola schedule, further, highlights the fruitful strategy implemented by the operators to curdle the market’s flames and stimulate its activities year-on-year.

Considering the tough market competition portrayed, for instance, through the panoply of remittance and Mobile Money services, new entrants, innovative digital solutions and special corridor or periodic promotions launched by market spars namely: MTN Mobile Money, Orange Money, Western Union, MoneyGram, etc., these “Tombolas” seem to serve as an effective tool for the above-mentioned national remittance operators to maintain and increase their transaction volumes and profits. However, the quality of prizes, especially the premium gifts, which they offer are not offered by their competitors during their respective promotion campaigns. This could serve as eye-opener to the competition as the market looks forward to new surprises.




Cote d’Ivore: BCEAO Stops Orange Money’s International Transfers from 3 WAEMU Member States to France

BCEAO (Central Bank of West African States) has suspended the execution of international Orange Money transactions from Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal to France.

The said cross-border mobile money service was launched last June 2016 allowing Orange Money users in the mentioned WAEMU Member States to directly receive money into their mobile accounts from senders based in France.

In February 2017, the respective national branches of BCEAO in Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal sent injunctions to Orange Finances Mobiles Mali, Orange Money Cote d’Ivoire and Orange Finances Mobiles Senegal immediately suspending the execution of the international transfers.

According to BCEAO, these operations are carried out exclusively by credit institutions established in the territory of a Member State of WAEMU and who have the status of “authorized intermediaries”. Whereas, the accreditations obtained by Orange from BCEAO in March 2016 allows the Telco operators to become issuer of electronic money Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal. Moreover, the said approvals do not cover transfers in foreign currencies, thus, the extension of Orange Money to France poses a problem.

According to an internal BCEAO source, the Central Bank says it has no visibility on the volume of international transfers emitted from France to WAEMU via Orange Money. Therefore, in view of reaching a suitable solution to the problem, the French Telco Group has to either give up the service or open a bank in the respective corridors.



Nigeria: Ecobank Nigeria Partners with Accion Microfinance Bank to Extend Western Union’s Market Coverage       

Ecobank Nigeria Ltd has entered into partnership with a leading microfinance bank in Nigeria, Accion Microfinance Bank, to introduce Western Union Money Transfer services at some of the locations of Accion Microfinance Bank. 

The collaboration will enable Accion Microfinance Bank customers, particularly those mostly in the South West regions of the country are located in Ikorodu, Baruwa, Oke Odo, Agege, Isolo, Akowonjo, Ojodu in Lagos State, Iwo in Oyo State and Sango Ota in Ogun State, amongst others, to use Western Union’s services provided by Ecobank.

Drawing from Anthony Okpanachi, Deputy Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, the partnership with the microfinance bank is strategic and laudable, thus,will be mutually beneficial to customers of both financial institutions and it will also enhance the financial inclusion programme being championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Furthermore, Mr Okpanachi stated that these customers will also benefit from the Western Union/ Ecobank Nigeria Ltd Account Based Money Transfer (ABMT) Services by using any Ecobank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).  The ABMT service enables Ecobank customers have access to Western Union’s services using their Ecobank debit card in addition to the already existing Ecobank internet portal “”.  By this development Western Union customer with account in Ecobank are able to access Western Union’s Money Transfer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



South Africa: Mama Money Expands into Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania

Mama Money, start-up andinexpensive and trustworthy remittance operator for the SA-Zimbabwe corridor has expanded its money transfer service into key African markets including: Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania. Mama Money plans to expand into Mozambique, Malawi and Kenya by April. It has also earmarked a country outside of Africa for entry later this year.

The peculiarity and strength of Mama Money is that the solution is developed for African and emerging economies where the rise and growth of mobile money is coupled with increasing demand for affordable legal money transfer. Mama Money has developed a sophisticated platform capable of processing money transfers reliably and securely

Trust and cost are its biggest differentiators. Its total fees are charged on a sliding scale with a maximum fee of 5% – dramatically less than the industry average of 12%. There are no clearance periods or delays. Exchange rates and commission fees are completely transparent.

In Nigeria, Mama Money is connected to the 25 biggest banks and a mobile wallet called VKash. In Ghana, Mama Money is working with MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money. In Tanzania, Mama Money’s launch partners are Vodacom M-Pesa, EzyPesa and Airtel Money.




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