Monitise, the world's leading mobile banking services provider, is extending its business further into Africa and the Middle East with a joint venture with Paynet, an electronics payment company.
The agreement, signed in principle, combines the strengths of Monitise and Paynet to give millions of people access to banking and financial services on their mobile phones.
It also helps cement Monitise's position as a worldwide leader in mobile money following a global deal with Visa Inc, the world's largest electronic payments network, in June.
The British company already works with some of the world's biggest banks and mobile operators to deliver an increasing range of services to their customers over their mobile phone.
Its agreement with Paynet, which has a well-established electronic payment network in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda that connects to 35 regional financial institutions, will allow Monitise to further expand its operations in Africa and the Middle East.
The combination of Monitise's world class mobile money services with Paynet's African payments experience will offer a compelling mobile banking solution to African and Middle Eastern financial institutions.
Uniquely among mobile banking services, Monitise also enables people without a bank account to use its services, as well as providing traditional mobile banking to those with accounts.
The technology turns mobile phones into 'mobile wallets' which can be loaded with money and used to pay bills, deposit and withdraw cash, and receive money transfers.
Services are expected to start early next year, enabling participating banks and mobile operators to offer banking and financial services to existing customers, as well as opening new markets.
Mobile phone penetration in East Africa is approximately 50 per cent and rapidly growing.
Importantly, the technology works across all generations of mobile phone and has passed the strictest security standards demanded by financial institutions in the UK and the USA.
Bernard Matthewman, group managing director of Paynet, said: "There is a huge demand for secure, affordable and convenient banking and money services across Africa and the Middle East.
"Monitise is a global leader in mobile money services. Its tried and trusted technology and know-how will sit perfectly with Paynet's existing networks to give people control of their money.
"Many banks and mobile operators in our region recognise the mobile money opportunity but are struggling to find appropriate solutions.
"The Monitise approach of providing feature-rich mobile money services, as opposed to simply selling a licence, makes it very attractive and relevant to our market.
"This partnership will make a real difference to hundreds of millions of people, giving them greater access to their bank and helping new and existing businesses prosper."
Alastair Lukies, chief executive officer of Monitise plc, said: "Paynet and Monitise share the same vision of the social and economic benefits which mobile money can bring to developing countries.
"Paynet's established presence in East Africa and its expansion into the Middle East is a natural fit for our mobile money platform and its continued expansion into these territories with our partners around the region."
Mr Lukies added: "We firmly believe mobile money is most effective as an 'open ecosystem' where you can transact with anybody or any organisation, regardless of your bank or mobile operator.
"This principle underlies our success in the UK and the USA and is even more important in Africa and the Middle East."