Policy Brief 8

This policy brief examines the effects of cumulative, specific 7.2 per cent taxes on mobile money (MM) service providers in Côte d’Ivoire. It assesses the unique tax framework, which deviates from the consumer-centric trend observed in many African countries, where end-users typically bear the burden. Initially targeting telecom companies, the tax expanded to encompass MM providers created by licensed telecom operators (Orange Money, MTN Money, and Moov Money) and, later, all companies providing MM operations. Concerns over potential investment declines persist, yet concrete evidence is absent.

The data available suggests a decrease in MM turnover, partially due to lowered MM service prices, though telecom regulator reports note a lack of communication in MM revenue reporting. If specific taxes were reduced or abolished, the funds originally allocated could be reinvested, particularly to bolster agent commissions in rural zones, given the heightened competition between diverse payment service players in Côte d’Ivoire. The study emphasises the importance of a level playing field with other money transfer services provided by banks, local businesses, and fintech.


Hannelore Niesten

Hannelore Niesten is an ICTD consultant working as a Research Officer for the DIGITAX programme. Hannelore holds a PhD in Law from Maastricht University and Hasselt University (double degree), an LLM in Business and Finance law from George Washington University, Advanced Masters in Tax Law and Notary Law from the Catholic University of Louvain, and Masters in Globalization and Law, and European Law from Maastricht University.