The new year has not started well for Africa's mobile money community with the news that the Cote d'Ivoire government has imposed a 0.5% tax on mobile money payments, with the person making the payment subject to the tax.
The move is part of a broader tax reform implemented by the Ivory Coast authorities at the start of the month and is targeted to raise 10 billion CFA francs (US$18.2 million).
If the move is a success for the Cote d'Ivoire government, the concern is that other countries might consider a similar move and impact the spread and growth of mobile finance services and innovation. In Cote d'Ivoire there are almost 10 million subscribers to the various mobile money services offered by the likes of MTN and Orange, so it will be interesting to see if the imposition of this tax has an impact on user numbers or the number/value of transactions during 2018.
In an effort to cement its position as the gateway between Egypt and the rest of Africa, Liquid Telecom plans significant data center and network investments in the country during the next three years.
Investments are being made that will benefit the citizens of Africa, improve economies and perhaps most importantly give the people of Africa the opportunity to play their part in the Fourth Industrial revolution.