Wari, Mara Phones link up to expand in Africa


Digital financial services platform Wari has entered into an alliance with African smartphone manufacturer Mara Phones.

According to the agreement, signed in Paris at the VivaTech 2019 event, Wari's offerings will be preloaded onto Mara devices and Wari will bundle its services with the Mara Phone to all its clients.

Mara Phones' chief executive officer Ashish Thakkar said, "We are extremely excited about this collaboration and we expect to see Wari increase its presence and penetration with the bundling of the Mara Phone."

Kabirou Mbodje, chief executive officer at Wari, described the partnership as a good opportunity for Wari to diversify its offer and facilitate the utilisation of the MyWari app.

"The Mara Phones are the first 100% African built phones and we should be proud of this achievement. As two African champions, we must support each other and multiply African partnerships to create value and increase economic growth," said Mbodje.

"Africa is 54 countries. We're talking about a billion people, a huge continent, thirty currencies. Why it is not prosperous is because we're not integrated. We are small countries with no effect on a global scale. If we don't aggregate those markets together, we will not have leverage," he added.

The Mara Phones project was announced during the Africa Investment Forum in November 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Although Thakkar said the initial target market would be first-time African smartphone users with manufacturing plants in Rwanda and South Africa, two devices - Mara X and Mara Z are already available with worldwide shipping available through DHL.

Wari claims, since its incorporation in 2008, it is available in over 60 countries with 500,000 outlets globally and 45,000 pay points in Africa.