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Ecobank Tanzania unveils two digital payment systems

Dar es Salaam. Ecobank Tanzania has unveiled two digital payment solutions on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 aimed at easing retail payment.
Ecobank Tanzania Managing Director Mwanaiba Mzee addresses the media in Dar es Salaam after the launch of Masterpass and M-Visa for easier retail payment. She is flanked by the bank’s head of commercial Banking Respige Kimati (right) and head of personal banking Ndabu Lilian Swere

Using the platforms known as Masterpass and M-Visa which are available in the Ecobank Mobile Application, the bank says it will help to promote financial inclusion among Tanzanians.Speaking to journalists today,Ecobank's managing director Ms Mwanahiba Mzee said the new banking services will guarantee safety and easy financial transactions.
"This service can be used by any person be it a customer or non-customer, all one needs is a smartphone with Ecobank's application," she said.While demonstrating how the new services operate, Ecobank's manager for electronic channels Mr Filemon Tesha said the importance of using these new services include getting money faster and also increasing sales to all merchants.
He also said the digital services charge 0.5 per cent at the points of sales (POS) while the normal charges for money transactions range from 3 per cent to 5 per cent of the transaction made.He also said these services allow easy access for a person to follow up on their accounts as one can monitor the money transactions easily and it doesn't need physical contact with banks.The head of personal and domestic banking Ms Ndabu Swere added saying Ecobank's aim is to strengthen services and simplify transactions to its customers

Source: Citizentz

Fortumo expands into Algeria, Ghana and Tanzania

The mobile payments company Fortumo announced today that it has expanding its carrier billing services to 3 new African markets. More than 79 million mobile phone owners in Algeria, Ghana and Tanzania can now make payments for digital services.

“Africa’s digital ecosystem is quickly growing and we are seeing strong interest from international merchants who want to expand their activities there. While each day a large amount of new smartphone owners are coming online, collecting payments from these users has so far been a challenge. Our expansion in Africa gives locals better access to digital mobile services such as games, music, and video while helping merchants generate additional revenue from the region,” said Gerri Kodres, Chief Business Officer at Fortumo.
Fortumo services app stores including Google Play, digital media providers including Spotify, Sony, HOOQ, Gaana and gaming companies like EA Mobile, Gameloft and Kinguin with carrier billing, local market insights and facilitates relationships with mobile operators.

All three markets where Fortumo has launched have extremely low credit card penetration: Algeria at 6%, Ghana at 0.9% and Tanzania at 0.7%. This means while people can access online content, most of them are unable to make payments for paid features of these services.
Carrier billing solves this problem by allowing any mobile owner to make payments conveniently through their carrier and either deduct payments from their airtime balance or charge them to their monthly phone bill. Additional information on Africa’s digital ecosystem can be found from Fortumo’s recent market report.

In the Middle Eastern and African region, carrier billing through Fortumo is now available to more than 600 million people in 24 countries. Globally, over 3.5 billion people in 97 countries can make payments using their mobile phone with merchants who have integrated Fortumo.
Source: itnewsafrica

Why Is East Africa A Global Leader In Mobile Remittances?

East Africa has established itself as a global leader in mobile remittances, and TerraPay is the latest mobile payments platform to enter the crowded space with its launch in Tanzania.
The global company has obtained regulatory approval to launch international money transfer services to mobile wallets in Tanzania.
There are good reasons why companies are flocking to the region. There are huge opportunities in Africa’s mobile remittance segment due to a large number of people living and working abroad who send money home for investment and family support.

“There is also the opportunity created by intra-Africa businesses that require money transfer from one African country to another,” says Danson Njue, an analyst at Ovum. “The continent has a relatively high mobile penetration rate and a developed mobile money service platform which supports the growth of the mobile remittance sector.”
Experts say Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are challenging Kenyan operators for dominance of the sector. More and more players are entering the mobile remittances space, with Tigo launching an international remittance service and South African company Mama Money expanding to Tanzania earlier this year, IT Web Africa reported:
There is also interoperability between customers of MTN Mobile Money and Vodacom’s M-Pesa, with the arrival of TerraPay, which is part of the Mahindra Comviva group and provides interoperability engines – a further development.
The regulatory approval means Tanzania is now part of the TerraPay global network, which will allow partners from across the world to send money to mobile wallets in the country. Tanzanian diaspora in the U.K., France, Italy, Canada, U.S., South Africa and elsewhere can send remittances directly to Vodacom M-Pesa, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money and Zantel Ezy Pesa Mobile Money accounts by visiting a participating TerraPay store.

In 2015, the World Bank reported remittances to Africa reached US$35 billion, excluding the amount transferred through informal channels. Mobile methods of sending money are vital due to the high cost of sending remittances in Africa via formal channels — between 8 percent and 20 percent of each transaction.

Since Kenya’s launch of M-Pesa a decade ago, East Africa has set itself up as a leader in mobile money. Aside from mobile money operators, global firms like WorldRemit and TerraPay see the region as a major base.
WorldRemit tracks the development of the sector back to the launch of M-Pesa. Recent figures released by the money transfer company show that the Kenyan diaspora is the biggest sender of digital remittances to mobile accounts.
Transfers to mobile money accounts make up 93 percent of WorldRemit’s transactions to Kenya, proving that Kenyans continue to be early adopters of innovative technology, even when abroad.
In January 2017 alone, WorldRemit customers transferred more than US$140 million to Kenya, while Kenyan internal remittances reached a record US$161 million in November 2016, making remittances one of the nation’s top earners.
But it is not just Kenya. East African countries including Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda are also leaders in this space and have competitive markets.

Lehlohonolo Mokenela, an industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, says East Africa and South Asia are reporting high growth in the volume of mobile money-based remittances.

“The affinity for mobile wallets in East African markets such as Kenya and Tanzania is expected to enable the growth of international remittances in the region, Mokenela said. “Service providers such as TerraPay are already looking to enable the development of this market in different parts of the continent.”

Making different mobile transfer services interoperable in different countries is a vital next step for the development of the market. Again, East Africa is leading in this, with Tanzania in particular making major steps forward, but there is more to be done.

“Interoperability is expected to overcome challenges to scale and facilitate micro-transfers across borders, a common theme for Africa’s low-income population,” Mokenela said. “The challenge for the market however, lies in the navigating the regulatory hurdles from one country to the next.”

Njue said there is evidence of increased adoption of mobile money interoperability by service providers to support cross-border and cross-network transfers and grow the sector.

“The need for interoperability is to support mobile remittances and also grow service usage among users. In addition to increasing mobile money usage, interoperability has the potential to unlock the intra-Africa mobile remittance sector which has not had much focus in the past and which holds the key to promoting cross-border trade,” he said.

He said he expected to see some consolidation in the market given how many different companies have entered the space.
“In my opinion, market consolidations may be inevitable in some markets where we have so many operators. However, partnerships will feature most as service providers seek to tap into the opportunities in the sector,” said Njue

JuaSimu – the world’s first solar-powered smartphone

Inexpensive smartphones are enabling mobile subscribers to access the internet at unprecedented levels across the African continent. However, it’s a challenge to keep mobile devices powered up, especially when access to electricity is often expensive, and unreliable. It is estimated that as many as 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, with the electrification rate as low as 14.2% in rural areas. Solar energy can be an economically and environmentally competitive option that can contribute significantly to this scenario.

Today, Dotsavvy is delighted to launch its breakthrough innovation – JuaSimu – the world’s first solar-powered smartphone, made in Kenya. Dotsavvy’s research and development team has been working in stealth for almost 3 years developing a smartphone that is uniquely suited for Africa where access to reliable and affordable electricity can be challenging. JuaSimu is unique in that it has been designed from the bottom up to be a smartphone that relies solely on solar power.
The JuaSimu screen is an integrated solar panel that charges the battery whenever its exposed to the sun. The JuaSimu does not come with any charging cables or adaptors since it works directly from solar energy which is abundant for most of the year in Africa. Dotsavvy closely with Tesla Motors to develop a unique battery for the JuaSimu that can last longer and requires shorter charging cycles to achieve a full day of operating capacity. This battery technology is so cutting edge that Dotsavvy has patented the same.
Valentine Mghoi, User Experience Lead at Dotsavvy says, “JuaSimu is a massive breakthrough in terms of what a modern smartphone should be for African consumers taking into consideration our unique market conditions. JuaSimu is a mid-range Android smartphone and yet it packs amazing features in a cost-effective and high performance package. The seamless and refined user experience from the hardware to the software makes it look and work like most great smartphones, except JuaSimu is a one of a kind in that it only works using solar energy”.
Kenneth Ikiara, General Manager at Dotsavvy, says, “For almost 15 years the focus at Dotsavvy has been in digital solutions that enhance business performance. JuaSimu is our first foray in a consumer hardware offering which was a completely new experience for us compared to what we normally do. We had to work with global partners like Google and Tesla Motors to bring it to life. We are delighted to have made JuaSimu a reality after three years of hard work by our team”.
JuaSimu will be available from today the 1st April 2017 at all major supermarkets and mobile phone dealerships at an introductory launch price of Kes. 10,000.00 only. In addition, the first 1,000 buyers of JuaSimu smartphones will get a chance to win an all-expenses paid holiday to South Africa if they buy one by the end of August 2017. JuaSimu will also be available beyond Kenya from the 1st July 2017 in markets like Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
Source: Dotsavvy 


Halotel has today partnered with NMB to allow five Million Halotel and NMB customers enjoy cash deposit and withdraw services from HaloPesa.

This well designed integration will enable all HaloPesa customers to send money from their respective HaloPesa wallet to any NMB account at the comfort of their fingertips anytime and anywhere. This service also enables NMB customers by using NMB mobile to send money from their respective account to any HaloPesa wallet and access the cash at HaloPesa agent.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam while launching the new partnership, Halotel Deputy Managing Director, Le Van Dai, noted that the partnership is a big step for Halotel Tanzania, as it will enable Millions of Tanzanians to access banking transactions through HaloPesa.

Le Van Dai said Halotel is extending its HaloPesa agent network to NMB to make easy different banking transaction. ''and the target for this service is customers in remote areas and those who have a limited time to visit NMB branches to access banking services, but they can now do that with HaloPesa,” said Le Van Dai, insisting that teachers, fishermen, business people and farmers, most of which do not have time to visit the NMB branches due to busy daily schedules, and by so doing allowing NMB customers to deposit money conveniently into their bank account by a simple and easy to procedure  to follow the process of transferring money directly from HaloPesa wallet to NMB account’’

‘’And at the same time we are bringing NMB customers closer to their bank account by enabling withdrawals and deposit from the bank directly into the HaloPesa wallets everywhere across the country”

He added that, ''Halotel is now accessible to 95% of the country's population, with more than 30,000 HaloPesa agents. we believe this partnership will bring both NMB and HaloPesa services closer to the people. This service is essential to both Halotel and NMB customers, most of whom have not been able to access mobile banking services.

The NMB's Acting Chief of Retail Banking – Abdulmajid Nsekela said “Through this strong and long term partnership, NMB will be able to extend its distribution channels and in turn contribute significantly in improving customer’s lives and economy in urban and remote areas of the country”.

“The introduction of this service linked to NMB mobile will enable more than 2,000,000 NMB customers registered to NMB mobile to deposit money from HaloPesa to NMB account and also send money to other HaloPesa recipients from their NMB accounts at a very affordable rate. Said Nsekela adding that

“All NMB customers who are registered to NMB mobile will not need to visit NMB branches to make deposits to their accounts or transfer money to their business partners, friends and families. Introduction of this service enables any NMB mobile customer to send money to any HaloPesa wallet,” He further explained that,

“This enables teachers, police, nurses and all salaried workers who are passing their salaries through NMB account to be able to access their salaries without a need of visiting NMB branch. They can now simply send money from NMB account to HaloPesa wallet and withdraw cash at any HaloPesa Agent. The integration also enables customers to deposit cash to any NMB account by a simple transfer from HaloPesa wallet to any NMB account,” Nsekela concluded. 

The Introduction of this service will create convenience to all Tanzanian but mostly allowing the unbanked and under banked communities to access financial services close to them. NMB continues its commitment to drive financial inclusion and promote digital banking through innovation.  
Source: NMB

Mastercard and Unilever Join Forces to Empower Small and Micro Businesses in Emerging Markets

At Mobile World CongressMastercard and Unilever today announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on a range of joint initiatives aimed at empowering small and micro businesses in emerging markets. By combining their expertise and reach, the companies intend to unlock economic growth and further advance specific Sustainable Development Goals such as poverty reduction and sustainable cities and communities.
According to the World Bank, there are somewhere between 365 and 445 million micro-, small and medium enterprises in the developing world, representing the economic backbone of many local communities. Yet, the true potential for these businesses remains untapped. Some of the biggest barriers for their further growth include limited market information, poor access to money, and a lack of financial management skills.
Matching Unilever distribution network with digital payments from Mastercard
By matching up Unilever’s network of distributors in developing countries with digital payment and acceptance solutions from Mastercard, technology resources will be activated to drive inclusive growth at greater scale.
As a first step, Mastercard and Unilever will explore ways to enable better access to formal financial tools for smaller retail outlets while also building entrepreneurship capacity, particularly for women and girls. Additional focus areas may include joint efforts to increase the usage of electronic payments across both wholesale and retail locations.
“Too many small merchants and micro entrepreneurs are stuck, like their customers, in a cash economy that doesn’t work for them,” said Ajay Banga, president and CEO, Mastercard. “With Unilever, we can bring a unique combination of technology and know-how to help these shop owners build a better future and serve their customers who are themselves on a path towards financial inclusion.”
Paul Polman, Chief Executive, Unilever added: “Strategic partnerships such as this are critical to helping us improve our business and positively impact the lives of 5.5 million people by 2020. By working together, we can have a much greater impact in emerging markets, empowering small scale enterprises and bringing about the transformative change necessary to meet the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals and our business.” 

During the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (center) witnessed Ajay Banga, president and CEO of Mastercard (left), and Paul Polman, Chief Executive of Unilever (right), signing a strategic partnership designed to advance financial inclusion efforts by empowering small and micro businesses in emerging markets.
First pilot project in Kenya
In Kenya, the companies are jointly designing a program to enable sustainable growth of small retail entrepreneurs. By digitizing the processes of buying supplies and selling goods small vendors will gain access to low-interest credit. This will empower them to better answer shopper demand and grow their business while upskilling themselves through basic insight tools.


Mastercard and MultiChoice Make It Simple for DStv Customers to Pay Using Their Smartphones

At Mobile World Congress, Mastercard announced a new solution for South African MultiChoice customers to quickly and conveniently pay their digital satellite television accounts using Masterpass, the global digital payment service from Mastercard, on their smartphones.

Customers can download Masterpass from the iOS or Android app store, register, and load their credit, debit or check cards from any bank into the digital wallet. Payment card information – including card details from Mastercard and other payment networks – is only captured once eliminating the hassle of repeatedly entering these details each time they want to pay their bill.
To settle their DStv accounts, customers simply click on the link they receive from DStv via SMS, and select Masterpass as the payment option. They authorize the payment by entering their ATM PIN or One Time PIN, and their account is updated within a few minutes.
“We’re pleased to work with MultiChoice South Africa to make bill payments simpler, faster and more convenient for DStv customers,” says Mark Elliott, Division President of Mastercard, South Africa. “With Masterpass, customers can simply use the app on their smartphones to manage their payments anytime and from anywhere – be it at home, at work or on-the-go.”
Another key benefit is that DStv customers who missed payments and had their DStv service disconnected, can settle their accounts using Masterpass and get reconnected quickly.
“With the new Masterpass payment option, our customers never need to miss out on their favorite shows or big sporting events. The collaboration with Mastercard helps us to give our customers simple, secure and pain-free payment options that make life easier for them,” says Mark Rayner, CEO for MultiChoice South Africa.
Customers can rest assured that their information is secured as the Masterpass digital wallet uses multiple layers of security, ensuring the user’s personal and payments details are protected.
Source: Mastercard 


The National Microfinance Bank PLC (NMB) has today launched the first ever money transfer service that will see customers registered with NMB mobile transfer money from their NMB account to other banks at the comfort of their finger prints.

To transfer up to TZS 3,000,000/- customers will need not walk into the banking halls any more; rather they can transfer through NMB mobile anywhere and provide the convenience that a customer needs.

Launching the money transfer service into the market, the NMB’s Value Added Service Manager, Stephen Adili, said the mobile Interbank Settlement System adds more options to NMB customers while maintaining the convenience and comfort of customers.

Previously, customers could transfer money from their NMB accounts to other banks by either physically visiting branches or through internet banking. In both cases the process took up to two hours for the transaction to mature.

 “The new mobile system of transaction is timely as recipient gets money instantly.” said Stephen Adili the NMB Acting Senior Manager Retail Liability, Insurance and Value Added Services.
Mr Adili added that “Being the first bank in the market, we expect a positive reaction from our customers who will no longer incur some transport and time expenses on transferring money from their NMB accounts to other banks accounts.”

Source: NMB

Mastercard Launches Mobile Marketplace to Digitize East Africa’s Agricultural Sector

2KUZE gives farmers access to more buyers, enables them to run a more profitable business and paves the way to a cashless agricultural sector

Mastercard today launched 2KUZE, a digital platform that connects smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa. 2KUZE, which in Swahili means “Let’s grow together,” enables farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their feature phones. The platform brings the benefits and security of mobile commerce and payments to farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

2KUZE was developed at the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, which was set up in 2015 to develop practical and cost-effective financial tools that expand access and help build stable futures for more than 100 million people globally. Through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lab is working with East African entrepreneurs, governments and other stakeholders to develop local products rooted in the company’s global knowhow.

In the initial pilot, 2KUZE is being launched in partnership with Caf├ędirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organization working with 300,000 smallholder farmers globally. Currently, 2,000 small-scale farmers in Nandi Hills, Kenya are using the solution to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price.
“Eighty percent of farmers in Africa are classified as smallholder farmers having less than 1-2 acres of farming land, making it extremely difficult to drive growth and prosperity within this community, ” said Daniel Monehin, division president for Sub-Saharan Africa and head of financial inclusion for International Markets at Mastercard.
“We believe that by using mobile, a technology that is so ubiquitous among farmers in Africa, we can improve financial access, bring in operational efficiency and facilitate faster payments. The collaboration between the Lab team and farmers in the market helped to deliver a solution that can be implemented and make an impact without any major changes to the day-to-day.”
2KUZE makes transacting much safer and simpler for all stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain – the farmer, the buyer and the agent. Farmers using 2KUZE can conduct the entire transaction of selling produce and receiving payments via their feature phones, without having to walk for hours to the markets. The platform enables farmers to capture a greater percentage of the wholesale value of their goods by providing price transparency, more direct access to buyers and empowerment of farmer-friendly agents.
Source: Mastercard


Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: 09 March, 2017 – National Microfinance Bank Pic (NMB) has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Mastercard to ensure the digitization of the agricultural sector in Tanzania with the rollout of eKilimo, a mobile solution developed by the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion.

eKilimo, which in Swahili means ‘eAgriculture’, is a digital platform that will help, introduce efficiency, security and transparency in the agriculture supply chain. The solution will make transacting faster, safer, and easier for all stakeholders including the farmer, the buyer and the agent.
Powered by the digital platform developed by the Mastercard Lab, farmers are now able to conduct the entire transaction process of receiving payments and selling produce via a feature or smartphone, without having to walk hours to markets. This helps to ensure farmers benefit from the ability to capture a higher percentage of the wholesale value of their goods by providing price transparency and more direct access to buyers.
“Contributing a significant USD 13.9bn to Tanzania’s GDP (nearly 30 percent), it is critical that solutions are found to support this vital sector, ensuring sustainability and growth. Technology is having a significant impact already, and the mobile device is giving small holder farmers the power and ability to move beyond cash,” said Raghu Malhotra, President, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.
By providing digital payment to farmers, eKilimo will leverage the existing agency banking structure to facilitate account opening for farmers and joint ideation on new product features. This is in line with the Mastercard vision of a more digitally and financially included Africa.
“Using digital technology to provide access to farmers and introducing transparency to the buying and selling process will drive efficiencies into this supply chain, positively impacting the economy. In the long run this should help famers gain access to formal financial services and solutions, enabling them to manage their funds ensuring a better more secure future for them and their families.”
The solution which was developed at the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion is part of a global commitment made by company to reach 500 million people currently excluded from the financial mainstream by 2020. The East African Lab, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is set to empower 100 million people through its focused approach of developing market and sector relevant solutions underpinned by meaningful insights and local collaboration.
The partnership between NMB and Mastercard will see the solution enter a pilot phase in select locations in Tanzania from March 2017. Following the introduction of the same solution in Kenya under the name of 2KUZE, key insights were gathered and will be used to ensure the Tanzanian pilot is a success. This cross pollination of knowledge driven by the Mastercard Lab ensures future rollouts are done so efficiently.
The pilot will begin with the onboarding of NMB customers that source directly from smallholders.  Field agents of the customers will use the eKilimo smartphone app to perform the purchase, including weighing the produce on a Bluetooth-enabled scale and paying the farmer digitally. The farmer will receive information and their payment from eKilimo, and will be able to leverage their transaction history to access credit from NMB. 
 “We are committed to growing Tanzania’s agriculture sector, and working with partners such as Mastercard to introduce technology that can change lives. Our experience in the sector gives us a unique point of view, combined with insights from Mastercard following the launch of the solution in Kenya under the name 2KUZE. It makes for a powerful collaboration, one that will benefit smallholder famers, buyers and agents – and the broader economy,” said the NMB Managing Director – Ineke Bussemaker. 

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