Our 21st community gathering was held in Kigali, Rwanda from March 6-10, 2023. Over 300 people from more than 25 countries attended in person and online — our largest gathering to date. 

We’re thrilled with the fact that every year we’ve had the conference, we’ve had to increase the size of the meeting hall we use. It was also very gratifying to see that many people have attended more than four times. We see this as a sign of how engaged our growing community is. 

We had dozens of sessions over the course of four days and can’t provide a summary of all of them here. But here are four of the presentations that we feel highlight just a few of the important contributions by the community. 

If you weren’t able to attend the conference, we have all of the sessions collected in this YouTube playlist.

Mojaloop Accelerator Program Progress and System Integrator Contributions

Presented by Alain Kajangwe of WiredIn LTD and Jean Claude Karasira of Orion Systems 

The goal of the Mojaloop Accelerator program is to provide experts who can support companies using Mojaloop in their products. Currently, INFITX is supporting two accelerator program members, WiredIn and Orion Systems. In this session, WiredIn and Orion Systems provided an update on new products by these companies that include Mojaloop.

WiredIn has created a product called Murakoze Wallet, a third-party payment initiation (3PPI) system that allows users to pay from multiple accounts and/or wallets. It also hides payer information from the payee, which is important in scenarios in which you’re tipping a server in a restaurant, for example. Murakoze uses Mojaloop as a switch to manage payment flow.

The WiredIn team was able to provide a demo of their product from the user’s perspective and in the back end. One of the great things about this project was that not only did they integrate Mojaloop, they made some major improvements to the code on payments manager and the hub portal. 

Orion Systems serves banks in multiple African countries with multiple apps. They want to be able to integrate Mojaloop into a P2P merchant request-to-pay cash-in and cash-out product, and into existing shared digital channels (internet banking, agency banking, and mobile banking).  

So far, they have developed the payments manager core connectors and can do an account lookup, quoting service, and P2P transfer using the Mojaloop sandbox. They look forward to continuing with bulk services and starting merchant payments.

Mojaloop Journey Phase 1 in the Tanzanian Instant Payment System (TIPS)

Panel discussion featuring Innocent Ephraim of FSDT, Mutashobya Mushumbusi (Muta) of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and Elibariki A. Sekajingo (Eli) of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT). Moderated by Jane Stroucken of INFITX.  

TIPS is considered one of the first national implementations of real-time payments (RTP). The Bank of Tanzania needed a system with true interoperability that would enable services like merchant payments because it was taking too long for services, they were costly for users, and there were integration challenges. The implementation team first took some time to understand the needs of Tanzanians, determine approaches that would most likely succeed, and create a roadmap for the decade to come. 

One of the challenges that the team faced lay in the fact that onboarding of participants to the platform took longer than planned (there were over 45 banks). Working with regulators also took time as the team struggled to build something for everyone. 

TIPs and BoT are open to sharing their experiences, and plan to document their journey so others can learn more about building an instant payment system and avoid headaches along the way.

Interoperability Case Studies (Rwanda and Kenya)

Presented by Michael Mbuthia of AfricaNenda 

This session compared the interoperability journeys of Kenya and Rwanda and provided some takeaways from both.

Part of Kenya’s challenge with implementing a national payments system lay in competition from cash: users wanted real-time payments that didn’t take a commission — just like paper money. Two hurdles for merchants were that they were also charged a commission, and they had to pay for the infrastructure and equipment to process the payments. Both groups also needed the capability to process higher transaction amounts.

After a two-year development journey, the PesaLink solution provided most of the functionality that users were looking for. Then the team had to pitch it to both prospective customers and regulators. Once transactions could be processed within 10 seconds, PesaLink gained approval, and it’s now available to any licensed DFSP in the country, including banks and licensed non-banks.

In Rwanda, there were mobile money providers and banks all operating in silos: subscribers to one service couldn’t transact with subscribers to other systems. After developing use cases and a blueprint that aligned to Level One Principles, they pitched it to the central bank and to regulators. In six months, eKash was launched. Within a few months of launch, it became a huge success, with 1.3 million registered users, 146% monthly growth and 1.1 million transactions.

From both journeys the elements for successful instant interoperable payment systems (IIPS) can be identified: 

  1. Understanding the gap in the market.
  2. Having a clear and fair governance model to balance cooperation with competition among participants. 
  3. Using an economic model that incentivizes all stakeholders. 
  4. Creating an operational model that safely and reliably connects participants. It has to be sustainable and low cost in terms of acquisition, deployment, and operation.

Mojaloop Deployment and DFSP Onboarding Experiences in Myanmar

Presented by Pyae Phyo Lwin of ThitsaWorks 

When ThitsaWorks started its journey as a hub operator, it had to create an entire organization from scratch, in terms of business, technical, and operations considerations — right down to job descriptions and recruitment. When their two-year project started, Myanmar didn’t have any instant interoperable payment system (IIPS) deployments, just separate wallets and institutions. For regulators, testing would be extremely important.  

The ThitsaWorks team decided on a three-phase process readiness for onboarding, readiness for settlement, and customer service. Each phase had a list of plans that needed to be developed. Testing would involve friendly user testing (FUT) and closed user group (CUG) testing before going commercially live. 

Challenges in integrating with microfinance institutions (MFIs) included phone number format, repetitive tasks like credentials, and payment type creation. For wallets, there was a communication challenge on requesting repetitive tasks. For both, there was a lack of clear API documentation. 

ThitsaWorks emerged from the experience with a host of lessons learned, including dealing with the unique quirks of a host of wallets and MFIs. The slide deck linked above has a great outline of the plan, the considerations, and lessons learned.

More Resources

If you’d like to watch any of the sessions, you can find them in this YouTube playlist. We also have a variety of resources available to anyone who is considering using Mojaloop in a project: 

Our next community meeting is scheduled June 26-30, and is online-only. Keep an eye on this page to see when registration opens, and for other announcements like the call for speakers.

View the June Community Meeting Page