MFS Africa rebrands to Onafriq because of a name clash

  • After decades with the name MFS Africa, the firm is rebranding to Onafriq.
  • The name change comes after MFS Africa expanded into the US and discovered that the MFS trademark was held by another entity.
  • The firm is still focused on expanding its fintech footprint across Africa.

Rebranding a well-known entity is a bit of a gamble as you risk alienating dedicated customers and being forgotten about. However, sometimes a rebrand is necessary especially if the name and branding your company carries are no longer relevant to the day-to-day basis, or, the name is already taken in a market you’re entering.

The latter is the case for MFS Africa, a payment network that has expanded beyond the mobile financial services it cut its teeth on when it was founded back in 2009. Starting today, MFS Africa will be known as Onafriq.

The rebrand follows significant growth and several acquisitions made by the firm in recent years and months. These acquisitions include GTP which helped MFS Africa expand into the US which is what has brought about the need for a change of name.

“The trademark MFS actually belongs to another company in the US, and our ability to use it outside of Africa was becoming difficult,” explained Dare Okoudjou, founder and chief executive officer at Onafriq.

“We’ve expanded beyond just mobile financial services, becoming a true omni-channel platform across the continent and beyond. As we embark on this next phase of our journey, we wanted a name that reflects our aspiration of wiring up the whole continent into one network of networks with pathways from and to every African and every African business,” the founder added.

The vision of the company is still firmly set on making cross-border transactions easier while also encouraging the free flow of money across African borders.

The name Onafriq is rather interesting as it’s made up of multiple words, fused together into something new.

“Inspired by the words “ona” (Yoruba for pathway, road, canal or passage) and “afriq” (derived from “Afrique”, French for Africa, while also cueing our collective knowledge or IQ), the name Onafriq echoes our promise to partners and customers: a continent where new paths and new ways of accessing financial solutions are opened up for the benefit of all,” reads an explanation of the name sent to Hypertext.

It sure is a bold move to change the firm’s name given its network spanning 40 African markets, 500 million mobile money wallets, and 200 million bank accounts.

Of course, given that the name change had to happen, we have to commend Onafriq for a rather seamless transition. Searching for MFS Africa will showcase that name in search results but the website highlights the new branding.

If you are a business or individual who has previously used MFS Africa’s services, take note of the new name, it may take a while to stick in your mind.


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