Orange Collecte, launched last week in the Ivory Coast, is putting a mobile spin on the crowdfunding concept.
The service, developed in partnership with French charity-giving site HelloAsso, is tied to Orange's existing mobile money offering, Orange Money. It is designed to enable private individuals and charities finance their personal and charitable projects.
Generally, Africans welcome financial support from friends and relatives toward achieving a personal goal or project. It is mandatory in some traditions to render such support. However, Africans have not benefited from crowdfunding platforms up to now due to various reasons including trust issues, risks involved, improper understanding of technology and the lack of a credible anchoring institution.
Orange Money was used to transfer more than €4.5 million (US$5. million) last year. The new service is open to all Orange Money customers in Ivory Coast and contributors need its electronic wallet to be able to make their donations. At the end of each campaign collection, the amount raised is directly transferred to the user's Orange Money account.
Orange Money can be use to carry out electronic money transfers to another account holder in the same country – and internationally in some areas -- to pay certain bills and buy call credit; and for savings and insurance solutions in selected countries. Orange Money is available in Mali, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Botswana, Kenya, Madagascar, Cameroon, Jordan, Morocco, Guinea, Mauritius and Uganda.
Eighty percent of Africans have a mobile phones, but less than 25 percent have accounts with physical banks.
Mobile is a competitive arena in Africa, so Orange Collecte may spur other telecom players like Airtel and MTN to launch their own crowdfunding services.