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By NBF News
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MTN Group, the mobile operator in Africa and the Middle East, and Western Union, has announced a commercial agreement to introduce international mobile remittance services in the 21 countries where MTN operates. Once introduced, the service will allow MTN subscribers to conveniently send and receive Western Union Money Transfer transactions using their MTN Mobile Money accounts.

The service will first be introduced in Uganda, where MTN's Mobile Money service already boasts over 1 million registered users, making it one of the most successful mobile wallet deployments in the world. According to the World Bank, Uganda receives nearly US$500 million in remittances every year, making up 3 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Pieter Verkade, MTN Executive of MobileMoney, said, 'After bringing domestic financial services to many of our customers, we will now enable customers to receive money from abroad on their mobile phones to take out at their convenience with their local merchant, send it to family or pay a bill.'

MTN's Mobile Money service is currently available in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda, with pilots underway in several other markets.  The service offers consumers a convenient, secure and affordable way to send money within the same country (domestically), buy airtime and make basic utility payments using their MTN mobile phones. MTN offers the service in partnership with local banks.