From October 31–November 3, 2023, Mojaloop Community members gathered in Lusaka, Zambia to kick off our PI-23 meeting and the next phase of Mojaloop’s development.

We are grateful for the 164 in-person attendees who joined us from 26 countries across four continents — plus the additional 110 people who attended online. In particular, we welcomed some distinguished guests from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), several central banks, multiple national payment hub operators, and AfricaNenda. We were joined by an impressive number of first-time participants but were also gratified to see how many people repeatedly attended in person, some of whom had to travel very long distances every time.

Attendees commented on how valuable an opportunity it was to engage with such a diverse group of people, all committed to financial inclusion. As Teddy Soobramanien, CEO of the COMESA Business Council, said in his keynote speech, it’s all about “the sharing of our experiences and the learning we can get from each other.”

We also heard directly from four national hub operators who spoke in depth about the operational challenges of meeting financial inclusion goals including keeping costs down, interacting with proprietary vendors, and bringing small participants onto the system. It was a great opportunity to focus our development work on the real challenges faced by operators and an excellent signal that we’re addressing the fundamental challenges. It was also an opportunity to reinforce that all hub operators focused on financial inclusion should be part of our community, whether or not they choose to adopt Mojaloop code.

There were an incredible number of great moments over the course of the event, but we’ve featured just a few below.

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Inspiring Proof of Concepts

On Tuesday afternoon, attendees were treated to a selection of proof of concept (POC) updates and demonstrations. These included:

Jamelino Akogbeto introduced us to Guinea’s year-long journey in planning and implementing their Mojaloop platform. Because the Guinean team has an ambitious five-to-six-month plan, they are focusing on B2B transfers involving six participants. Once this sprint is done, the team plans to expand the deployment. The local Guinean , and Min Tha Gyaw, their chief strategy officer, walked us through the plan for the POC, which should be completed in February 2024. Watch the video >

Michael Mbuthia, AfricaNenda’s regional director for East/South Africa, led the second POC presentation. He invited the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of South Sudan, the Honorable Samuel Mikaya, to share some key facts about his country and the national retail payment system they want to build on top of other national systems already under development. A Thitsaworks team is also mentoring the South Sudanese development team, and Su Mon Aung, head of the business analysis and customer success teams at Thitsaworks, demonstrated the end-to-end transaction flow for the working prototype. Watch the video >

The third proof of concept was for a regional interoperability platform, first focused on the Zambia-Malawi retail payment corridor, presented by Dr. Jonathan Pinifolo of COMESA. The platform is designed to serve micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and improve cross-border trade. The project roadmap calls for commercial deployment of the person-to-person and person-to-business use cases in 2024. Once again, the Thitsaworks team shared their knowledge with local system integrators to help ensure success. Watch the video >

You can watch the videos about these exciting implementations using the links above.

Lessons Learned from Four DFS Lab Boot Camps

Joseph Benson Aruna, an investments partner from DFS Lab, shared some of the most important insights that he and his team have gained during their Mojaloop boot camps over the years. These are typically four-day design sprints that start with a problem and end with a demo.

Key learnings included:

  • Focused boot camps yield in-depth exploration.
  • Mojaloop’s commercial relevance attracts startups.
  • Boot camps are attractive to academic collaboration in problem-solving.
  • Open source ecosystems need vibrant developer communities and comprehensive documentation.

Sam Kummary, James Bush, and Michael Richards joined Joseph to talk about the design of the Mojaloop API and the ways that developers can find help with their Mojaloop-based projects in the Community.

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Merchant Payment Workstream

Merchant payments, especially for small merchants, is an important use case for Mojaloop, and our Community supports it with a dedicated workstream. Karim Jindani, co-founder and CEO of Tapsys and Paysys Labs, walked us through the incredible progress the team has made since March 2023.

In less than a year, the team has created a merchant onboarding portal and a merchant registry, which Karim demonstrated. The focus has been on creating a minimum viable product that is production-ready, with more features to come later on.

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A Guided Tour of the Product Roadmap

Paul Makin’s session on the product roadmap was an engaging look into the near future of Mojaloop’s capabilities. It also helps viewers appreciate the incredible amount of planning and work that goes into each Mojaloop release.

One of the changes that the product council is making is in naming the versions: we’ll no longer be using numerical names. With the end of PI-22 came the release of Mojaloop Acacia, which included the proof of concepts showcased at this Community Meeting and a few updates to the core product from some of the workstreams.

PI-23 will culminate in the release of Mojaloop Zambesi in February 2024, which will include merchant payments support, MOSIP integration, a limited solution for foreign exchange, and our next gen settlement solution. It will also include more support for on-premises deployments, part two of our performance characterization, and a set of participation tools. As always, there are ongoing updates for cybersecurity.

Mojaloop Baobab, with a planned release aiming to be released in late 2024, will include some major re-architecting and  feature updates.

For more details and a high-res version of the roadmap, you can read this post on Community Central. You can also view this post to learn more about Mojaloop’s pillars and the specific workstreams for PI-23.

Watch the Video >

Next Stop: Nairobi, Kenya

PI-24 will take place in March 2024. Keep an eye on our LinkedIn, Twitter/X, and Facebook pages for announcements about all the details.

See you there!