Orange Brings Mobile Crowdfunding To Africa

Many westerners are already familiar with crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Indiegogo, but thanks to a new service from Orange, African cellphone users won’t be far behind.

The French telecom giant, in partnership with HelloAsso, the French leader in crowdfunding for charities, has officially released Orange Collecte, a mobile crowdfunding platform that will allow African smartphone owners to send money to friends and family, according to a Sept. 11 press release. Though other companies have attempted to release crowdfunding apps focused specifically on the African market, Orange Collecte marks the first time such a service runs entirely off mobile architecture.

Though barely a week old, Orange Collecte seems primed for success. According to a Pew Research Center poll, several African countries, such as Nigeria and South Africa, boast cellphone usage rates on par with that in the U.S. In fact, 30 percent of cellphone users in Africa either sent or received payments in 2014.

IT World explained that the funding of a friend or relative’s personal project is a cultural norm in many African countries, and Orange Collecte may combine the ease of use and security that has been lacking from past mobile crowdfunding endeavors in Africa. Users only need to dial a 7-digit code or visit a website to set up a personal fund, and all donated money is transferred to the user’s Orange Money digital wallet when the funding deadline is reached.

Currently, Orange Collecte is only available in Côte d’Ivoire, but if success follows in the Ivory Coast, expect the mobile crowdfunding service to spread across the continent.

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