Reuters explores how mobile, cashless payments are making it easier for the sheep trade that supplies an annual Senegal tradition.
The government estimated that 700,000 sheep would be needed this year in Senegal, which is more than 90 percent Muslim. There are not enough available domestically, so traders come from neighbors Mali and Mauritania to supply more. Buyers navigating crowded sheep pens with wads of cash often find their earnings nimbly pick-pocketed. So to avoid this, some sellers have partnered with French telecoms giant Orange (ORAN.PA), allowing customers to complete the transaction on their mobile phones. First launched in Kenya in 2007, mobile money services have since been rolled out across Africa by companies including Orange, South Africa's MTN (MTNJ.J) and Vodafone (VOD.L)(VOD.O), catering to millions of people who lack affordable bank accounts.