Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Finally! A Mobile Payment System for Africa

Yesterday’s talk by Herman Chinery-Hesse was one of the highlights of TEDGlobal for me. He is the owner of SoftTribe, the leading computer technology company in West Africa, and a dynamic speaker and visionary. He’s been a trailblazer in what he called, “tropically tolerant software.”

Herman Chinery-Hesse

He stated the reasons for what he believes Africa has been left behind. His theory is that there are “hunted” and “hunter” nations. Some countries are positioned as places to go and grow businesses, others are positioned as the places to go and take resources from.

Herman stated one thing that I think will rub some in the diaspora the wrong way, but he uses his own life as an example:

It is not dignified for an African to live their whole lives overseas.

Now, the most exciting part to me. Herman went on to announce his new mobile payment system that will be rolling out sometime this year.

  • It’s phone carrier agnostic
  • It’s bank agnostic
  • It’s based on text messaging
  • It’s distribution is through merchants (just like how phone cards are sold here)

I’ve been beating my drum on this for some time, and I’m absolutely thrilled that such a leader in the IT space in Africa is leading this charge. This is the “missing link” for so many things in Africa, from eCommerce to remittances, this is is GREAT news!


  1. If Chinery-Hesse gets this baby rolling out, than at least it’s done by the right person which is imho half of the deal.

    I wish I could have seen/heard his presentation.

  2. hello,
    do you know the name of the service? did he say if it will be avalaible in all africa? I was looking for a service like this for madagascar and west africa.

  3. Just come across this http://www.obopay.com but for the US 🙁

  4. one year later where is this solution -sounds line vapourware

  5. one year later where is this solution – sounds like vapourware

  6. Try googling Wizzit and M-pesa

    [try looking at when this post was dated…]

  7. Obviously noone knows this man

  8. During Barcamp Ghana ’08, Herman talked a bit on the payment system. It’s part of a service called BSL which is a hybrid of the functions of PayPal and Ebay. http://twitter.com/barcampghana/status/1072086136

  9. Corruption will make mobile payment system in Africa very difficult.It is easy for people to come up and talk big but when it comes to the practicals on the ground there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed about mobile payment system Africa.We need the technology,we need transparency,few people own mobile phones and know how to use them effectively.All these need to be sorted out before we think about the benefits of the mobile payment system in Africa.The side effects and if it is necessary for Africa now.

  10. Talking is SIMPLER than DOING. A lot of problems one needs to address about mobile payment system .We need the right technology, transparency, few people own mobile phones and know how to use them effectively. All these need to be considered before we think about the benefits of the mobile payment system in any country.

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