Unlocking the future of financial services: MTN's MoMo API Hackathon

MTNSA Chief Financial Services Officer Bradwin Roper with one of the winners of the MTN MoMo API Hackathon, Tata iMali. Picture: Supplied

MTNSA Chief Financial Services Officer Bradwin Roper with one of the winners of the MTN MoMo API Hackathon, Tata iMali. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 13, 2023


In a groundbreaking initiative to shape the future of demand-driven financial services, MTN's Mobile Money offering, MoMo, recently hosted a remarkable event that brought together skilled tech developers and innovators.

The MTN MoMo API Hackathon, spanning across 15 countries, introduced a unique opportunity for participants to contribute to the evolution of financial inclusion and literacy.

South Africans, for the first time, were welcomed to be a part of this innovation wave with their own dedicated prize pool. The hackathon, facilitated through the Open API Platform, challenged developers to go beyond conventional payment processing and design solutions that foster financial inclusivity and literacy within their respective markets.

Bradwin Roper, Chief Financial Services Officer at MTN SA, emphasised the critical issue of digital literacy in South Africa. He highlighted the need for educating citizens on utilising available digital services and addressing the desperate need for financial literacy.

Roper stated, "What the Momo OpenAPI does is it allows any new FinTech helping us solve these problems around digital and financial literacy to plug in directly into our API and bring services live to customers who are registered for MoMo already."

The finalists of the hackathon showcased their dedication to addressing macroeconomic challenges. Leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain and strong biometric authentication, the participants demonstrated their commitment to overcoming hurdles in the financial services sector.

Zaka, the winner of the hackathon, focused on the spaza, informal trading economy, aligning with MTN's vision to transform this sector. Roper expressed his pride in seeing participants tackling challenges in areas that incumbents have been reluctant to explore. He emphasised the vision of partnering with innovators to reach customers in ways never done before.

Roper mentioned: "Our team can take some of these ideas into the live market provided they check all the boxes around regulation and procurement policies."

This indicates MTN's commitment to ensuring that the ideas generated in the hackathon align with regulatory requirements.

This inaugural hackathon is just the beginning of MTN's journey in fostering local talent and creativity to drive economic growth and financial inclusion.

Roper expressed optimism, stating: "We hope this can be used as a springboard for many. We want to rightfully claim our spot in the world as a digital financial services FinTech powerhouse."

MTN's MoMo API Hackathon stands as a testament to the company's dedication to shaping the future of financial services through collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to addressing pressing societal challenges. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, MTN is poised to play a pivotal role in transforming the financial services sector and driving economic development.