M-Pesa TanzaniaBesides Kenya, Vodafone has launched M-Pesa in Tanzania, Afghanistan and is about to bring it to South Africa to be deployed by its subsidiary, Vodacom South Africa and its local banking group Nedbank.
In Tanzania, M-Pesa went into operation in April 2008. The technology underlying M-Pesa differs between Safaricom of Kenya and Vodacom of Tanzania. While Safaricom uses SIM toolkits, Vodacom relies on USSD to provide users with a user interface for accessing the service.
The uptake of M-Pesa in Tanzania was not as rapid as in Kenya. Since the launch, M-Pesa in Tanzania has continuously been adjusted in an effort to maximize adoption and use. GSMA followed the stages of the Tanzania experience and have reported widely on the subject. Several changes including pricing, registration incentives, product features, marketing and the agent network was identified (GSMA 2009). But of greater interest is what exactly made the uptake relatively slower in Tanzania compared to Kenya. Factors identified were: financial access, level of urbanisation, economic development, market share and ownership of the operator, agent network, advertising, fee structure and technology. In conclusion, the report indicates that these factors are overlapping and interrelated but it was not possible to attribute a single cause of the faster uptake in Kenya versus Tanzania (GSMA 2009). More specifically the report demonstrates the significance of a country context. Though M-Pesa was designed to provide financial services to the unbanked in an emerging market, it cannot function with-
out the presence of the formal financial sector. The bank branches serve as ideal cash-in cash-out points.
In addition the report indicates that early adopters of M-Pesa in Kenya and Tanzania were more likely to be mobile phone users who already had bank accounts. The explanation was that these users had faced various challenges and were in a better position to risk trying a new service and as such a large population of formally included users may result in a large pool of early adopters (GSMA 2009).
M-Pesa in Kenya
M-Pesa has proved to be specifically applicable to the Kenyan market and context. Based on the number of users and transactions, M-Pesa is the biggest success story in mobile applications in East Africa. It all started in 2005 when Safaricom together with Vodafone realised the huge opportunity in airtime transfers and m-transactions and started a DFID-funded pilot mobile payment service later named M-Pesa. Since launch in March 2007, the uptake of M-Pesa has been very impressive the number of agents and subscribers has grown exponentially.Within the first nine months after its launch, M-Pesa announced a subscription base of a million users and almost 1,400 agents operating across the country. In January 2010, M-Pesa had registered more than nine million customer and there were 17,000 M-Pesa agents in the network (Safaricom 2010a).
Mobile Money Awards slated for May in SA
The first Mobile Money Awards will be unveiled at this year’s fifth annual Mobile Money Africa conference and Expo to be held in Johannesburg in May this year.
The awards will recognise different sectors of the continent’s mobile money landscape.
Mobile Money Africa director Emily Martyr said: “We are celebrating the success of mobile money and the impact that it is having on the lives of end users around the world and turning the spotlight on excellence in innovation and service delivery.”
Best Financial Inclusion Service 2013
This Award recognises a current mobile financial service that has brought about tangible socio-economic improvement, and made a real difference to the unbanked in Africa through greater financial inclusion.
It could be a bank, telecommunications service provider, solutions vendor, or other financial institution.
Best Mobile Money Application Award
The winner of 2013’s best mobile money app award will be a financial institution, mobile network operator or app developer – either on feature phones, smartphones, or web based - that demonstrates a current, innovative and consumer-centric mobile money app in Africa.
Mobile Banking Service of the Year
This category recognises an outstanding mobile banking initiative from a financial institution in Africa over the past year.
Best Mobile Money Platform for Africa 2013
This category is an opportunity for platform providers to shine, and will recognise a quality solution being used in Africa over this past year.
Best Retail Initiative Award 2013
With mCommerce gaining importance and innovations taking place to facilitate wider use of mWallets, this Award recognises the best retail initiative in Africa relating to mobile money in the past year.
Nominations to these categories will close on April 22. The shortlisted companies in each category will be announced on May 6 and voting will last until May 27.
Tanzania Looks To Tighten Control Over Mobile Money
Tanzania’s central bank has announced measures to tighten control over mobile money in the East African country. The new financial services regulations, the Bank of Tanzania said, were aimed “at improving the oversight of mobile payments and the service providers that facilitate them.”
The bank said in a statement that the new regulations would be implemented in June.
According to the bank, the new regulations were drafted last year “in a bid to enhance the sector’s stability and security.”
With mobile banking on the rise in Tanzania and across East Africa, central banks have been looking at new ways of streamlining and making the process better for users and telecom operators, as well as ensuring the banking sector is not lost in the process.
The bank says “the lack of supervision in the sector leaves room for the possibility of illicit activities such as money laundering or the financing of terrorism.”
Tanzania has witnessed an increase in the number of users engaging mobile money platforms and the central bank said it was time to create better systems for the operators and customers.
Vodacom Tanzania’s M-Pesa Gets Airborne
Vodacom Tanzania has partnered with domestic low cost airline, FastJet, to offer customers access to the company’s M-Pesa mobile payment solution to purchase tickets.
Tanzania Daily News quotes Kelvin Twissa, Head of Branding and Communication for Vodacom Tanzania, as stating that the partnership unites the company’s mobile money transfer system with the airline.
Vodacom’s M-Pesa service was launched in 2008 and is reported to have more than 4.5 million active customers.
According to the news report FastJet Commercial Manager for Tanzania, Jean Ku, the partnership has resulted in “an easy, and convenient way to buy FastJet tickets that will make air travel even more accessible for the tens of thousands of Tanzanians…”
FastJet has flown over 30,000 passengers between Dar es Salaam and two current destinations being Kilimanjaro and Mwanza writes Tanzania Daily News.
Although it is not yet certain whether additional airlines will be added to the service, analysts believe current travellers will benefit extensively.
Kenya’s Safaricom Inks Deal With KCB For M-Pesa Loans
Kenyan telecommunications operator Safaricom announced that it had entered into a partnership deal with KCB Group that would allow M-Pesa agents to deliver loans.
The total amount in the deal is valued at KES 1.5 billion (approximately $16,8 million) in unsecured loans for the mobile money facility, the companies said.
“M-Pesa agents will be able to borrow loans worth up to six times their average commissions earned over a six-month period,” Safaricom said in a statement announcing the new partnership.
Agents will now be allowed to borrow a minimum of KES 50,000 (approximately $560) and a maximum of KES 5 million (approximately $57,000).
The goal is to make the market have more liquidity and spur use of the mobile money service and develop the country’s fast-growing economy.
“The loans attract a 20 percent interest rate and are repayable over a 12 month period,” Safaricom said.
Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore said that “the new product is designed to ensure that agents have sufficient float to meet the growing customer transaction volumes on the M-Pesa platform.”
According to the Kenyan Communications Commission (KCC), in the first half of the 2012/2013 financial year, “Kenyans transacted an average of KES 80 billion per month through M-Pesa, equal to 31 percent of the country’s national income.”
Any M-Pesa branch in the East African country will have access to the new loan facility, the company said.
East Africa Ripe With E-Commerce Opportunities
There is huge demand for e-commerce facilities in East Africa – but the market is still in its infancy, according to PayGate marketing director Robin Philip.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to develop strong, mutually rewarding partnerships in the region,” says Philip. “The economy is vibrant, particularly in the IT sector as well as in travel and tourism.”
Much of the demand for e-commerce facilities currently comes from abroad, says Philip – but PayGate believes there is significant latent local demand.
“According to the card associations, there are only 200,000 credit cards in Kenya at the moment, but six million proprietary debit cards that can’t be used for e-commerce,” he says. “The card associations are working hard to bring these on board.”
There are also 16 million MPESA accounts, adds Philip, an indication of the real demand in the system. “MPESA is mainly used for low-value transactions but there’s no reason it needs to stop there. We are piloting MPESA as a payment mechanism for online businesses, particularly for airline tickets, and there is lots of room for growth.”
The key, says Philip, is to establish trust relationships and help local banks and merchants manage e-commerce risks effectively.
“The local banks are very interested, but they are also nervous of the risks after some bad experiences,” says Philip. “They haven’t had the opportunity to develop risk management expertise. This is where joint ventures are particularly valuable. PayGate is in the process of setting up relationships with several East African banks that will enable them to offer e-commerce facilities to their clients, while we manage the risks. We are excited to see where this could lead.”
Vodacom Tanzania’s M-Pesa Hits 4.4 Million Users
Tanzania has already seen large growth in its mobile money services, in line with economic progress. Now, Vodacom Tanzania has reported that its mobile money service, M-Pesa, has reached over 4.4 million users across the country, or some 48 percent of its total customer base.
M-Pesa was launched four years ago, and after an initial slow uptake, the service has taken off across the country.
CEO Rene Meza said “about TZS 35 billion is transacted daily through M-Pesa and attributed this to the fact that the service is safe and reliable and is available throughout the country.”
He added that “efforts to drive access to the product have grown steadily, and Vodacom has managed to build an agent network of over 35,000 outlets.”
Similar services from Vodacom are set to be rolled out in the DRC, Mozambique and Lesotho over the next nine months.
Mobile money services are seen as a key ingredient to furthering economic growth in Tanzania and the Vodacom report is a positive sign that users are employing their mobile phone devices for that purpose.
Tanzania has reported massive economic growth in recent years, making it one of the most vibrant economies in Africa.
Mobile Banking Takes Off In Tanzania
Tanzania’s Amana Bank has introduced new mobile banking and e-banking services giving impetus to the country’s developing mobile money market.
The bank said that the services being rolled out will enable users in the country to use their mobile phones or the Internet to transfer money and manage their bank accounts.
Amana’s Head of Business, Sudi Marungu, said that “the services are fast and easy to use as they allow customers to carry out banking transactions at their convenience, be it at home, the office or anywhere.”
He added that through the new mobile banking offerings, “bank customers will be able to check their account balances, request for mini-statements or full bank statements and conduct foreign transactions.”
The bank said that all mobile operators in the country will have the new services, including Vodacom, Airtel, Zantel and Tigo.
“Facilities include the transfer of funds from one account to another within the bank and mobile money transfer services such as M-pesa, Tigo-pesa and Airtel Money,” Marungu said.
Amana Bank is a wholly Tanzanian-owned bank, providing a full range of Islamic-compliant banking services to citizens.
Tanzania’s Zantel Hits Finanical Services PR Trail
Tanzania’s telecom operator Zantel and its Ezypesa brand is partnering with Neubrand Events Company to organize a publicity campaign for financial services and investments, aimed at boosting the company’s image in the East African country.
The Guardian reported that the four-day campaign, sponsored by Zantel, will also see co-sponsors from the Center for Microfinance Enterprise Development, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation, Tanzania Consumers Advocacy Society (TCAS) and Tanzania Microfinance Association.
Zantel CCO Sajid Khan said in announcing the campaign that his company “recognizes that innovative telecommunications services have the power to transform communities.”
The event also aims to have entrepreneurs offered “business skills development training.”
Neubrand Financial and Investment Services Week 2012 is a “free, open-air financial literacy education and entrepreneurship training event which equips SME’s skills about budgeting, savings, debt management, consumer rights and responsibilities and the range of formal financial services available in the market,” the campaign’s official announcement read.
Tanzania is hopeful that the event will spur interest in the telecom and IT sectors in the country and bring together emerging entrepreneurs with the business elite, where ideas and partnerships can be formed.
With mobile money being a potential cashcow for the country, the goal is to combine IT with financial services and generate further interest in the new sector.