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MOBILE MONEY : CAR demands cancellation of tariff increase

[abelainfo] - The Central African Republic (CAR) government has ordered mobile operator Orange to cancel the recent increase in transaction fees on its Orange Money platform. This unilateral tariff hike follows the implementation of a 1 % tax on digital transactions as stipulated by the 2024 Finance Law.

The CAR government has requested that mobile operator Orange rescind a recent increase in transaction fees on its Orange Money platform. In a statement released on April 10th, Justin Gourna Zacko, Minister of Digital Economy, Posts, and Telecommunications, criticized the telecom operator for unilaterally raising its tariffs.

This increase in Orange Money transaction fees comes in response to the government’s announcement of a 1% tax on electronic financial transactions, mobile money, and similar operations. This measure is outlined in the 2024 Finance Law.

In a statement issued on April 7th, the Platform of Actors for the Protection of Digital Rights in the Central African Republic (PAPDNC) stated, « This 1% tax adds to the 7% telecommunications fee unilaterally imposed by the executive through the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Postal Services (ARCEP), without considering the low purchasing power of Central Africans. »

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The increase in Mobile Money transaction fees could have an impact on the usage of these services, which serve as an alternative for financial inclusion in a population with limited access to banking services in the Central African Republic. In 2022, the unbanked population stood at 5.6 million people, according to the World Bank. The report from the Central Bank of Central African States also indicates that the Central African Republic had 153,331 bank accounts and 97,211 microfinance accounts in its 2022 report on payment services in Cemac.

Regarding electronic currency, the BEAC report shows a significant increase in the number of transactions, rising from 296,137 in 2018 to 15.38 million in 2022. The value of transactions also increased from 10.1 billion CFA francs (16.4 million dollars) to 275.38 billion CFA francs over the same period. The report does not specify the number of electronic currency users, but it indicates that the Central African Republic had 1.7 million mobile phone subscribers in 2022.

Sorelle Ninguem

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