A new mobile-based crowdfunding platform has been launched in Africa, allowing private individuals and charities in the Ivory Coast to finance personal or charitable projects by making an appeal through their mobile network.
The platform, known as Orange Collecte, was launched by French telecoms group Orange in partnership with HelloAsso, a French company that specialises in crowdfunding for charities.
Orange Collecte takes advantage of the fact that consumers in Africa, as elsewhere, are increasingly likely to use a mobile phone. In sub-Saharan Africa, less than a quarter of the population has a bank account yet more than 80% of inhabitants have a mobile phone, Orange said.
Claimed to be the first mobile crowdfunding platform in Africa, Orange Collecte is linked to Orange’s existing mobile money offering, Orange Money. This service, available in 13 countries, was used to transfer more than €4.5 million (£3.3 million) last year.
According to a report on Orange Collecte by CIO.com, until now Africans have not benefited from crowdfunding platforms. Reasons for this range from trust issues and the risks involved, to improper understanding of technology and the lack of a credible anchoring institution.
But the mobile market in Africa is highly competitive, so the launch of Orange Collecte may lead other telecom operators like Airtel and MTN to launch their own crowdfunding services, the website suggested.
The UK Government is keen to promote crowdfunding as a method for delivering overseas aid into certain selected African countries, particularly Commonwealth countries with reasonable track records in combatting corruption. Nonetheless, a variety of laws and regulations, including the Bribery Act and the anti-money laundering regime, still raise practical obstacles to UK companies wishing to participate in the initiative.”
David Blair, Partner