Skip to main content

WAEMU digital financial services interoperability platform

Developing and deploying an interoperable and inclusive digital financial services payment platform across the WAEMU zone 

The digital financial services (DFS) landscape in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) zone (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) has seen rapid growth in most of its countries since 2015. Millions of West Africans now benefit from the widespread proliferation of digital financial services that have arisen across multiple DFS actors, considerable diversification of products and  innovative partnerships that have taken hold between banks, financial payment institutions, mobile network providers, Fintechs and other key stakeholders. 

The AfDB, through USD 11.3 million in grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is supporting the WAEMU zone's upgrade and interoperability to ensure that mobile network operators and eventually, micronance institutions and Fintechs, become part of the payments ecosystem across the WAEMU and that micropayments over mobile phones operate across a shared system.


The project aims to develop and deploy an open-loop interoperable, inclusive digital financial services payment platform in the WAEMU zone that will enable person-to-person payment transfers regardless of the type of account (bank or non-bank), the instrument, the service and channel used. 

As an open-loop platform, the system will leverage open international standards, support high volumes, and make irrevocable and real-time payments available twenty-four hours a day. It will operate on an inclusive basis, where payments are considered a shared utility. The platform will provide for a number of retail use cases (Person-to-Person, Person-to-Business, Person-to-Government, amongst others) including interoperability and service payments, transfers, and cash-in/cash-out services.

  • Financial institutions (130 banks, more than 300 microfinance institutions, 8 postal financial institutions).

  • Non-financial institutions (33 electronic money issuers, including mobile network operators).

  • National treasuries (8 across WAEMU zone countries).

  • More than 116 million people, including lower-income and vulnerable populations.

  • Small and medium-sized enterprises.

  • Merchants.

  • Bill payment operators, money transfer agencies.

  • New market players (fintechs, aggregators, processors, payment service providers).

  • Government agencies.

  • Other technical providers (hubs and aggregators etc.)

  • Raise the financial inclusion rate in WAEMU zone from 55% to 75% by 2025 for lower-income populations, women and MSMEs.

  • Reduce cash-based transactions from 90% to under 50% by 2025.

  • Enable a high-performing and scalable solution that keeps costs low.

  • Set-up the prerequisites for a full digital economy in the WAEMU zone.


The project aims to financially include 116 million women, men and vulnerable populations in the WAEMU zone and strengthen regional integration through increased trade and cross-border transactions.

 ADFI e-news subscription         LinkedIn    Twitter   Facebook   YouTube

Payments (Interoperability)

ADFI Focus Areas

Digital Infrastructure
Payment Systems

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay updated with our quarterly newsletter showcasing the latest blogs and interviews, news, project updates and event listings related to digital financial inclusion in Africa.