Tanzanian banks partner with telcos to reach unbanked masses

Tuesday October 31 2017

A mobile money transfer agent in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

A mobile money transfer agent in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. PHOTO FILE | NATION 

By BEATRICE MATERU
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As the number of people using mobile money grows, commercial banks in Tanzania are partnering with telecom companies to reach the unbanked as well as allowing mobile money subscribers with bank accounts to transfer cash between the two services.

“The integration gives room for more people to use either mobile money, bank accounts or both, and makes it easier for a bank to reach a large market, particularly rural areas which are financially underserved,” said Ineke Bussemaker, chief executive officer of NMB Bank.

Telecoms with their networks allow banks to exploit their existing client base, and in turn, telecoms are able to offer banking products to their existing customers.

“It is not competition… as banks we are looking for ways to co-operate and work with telecom companies to extend financial services to a larger population,” said Junaita Mramba, head of corporate affairs at Standard Chartered Plc.

Financial inclusion

A Financial Inclusion Tracker survey shows that 85 per cent of adults with mobile money accounts use mobile money services exclusively while the remaining 15 per cent transact through either a bank account, or a non-bank financial institution, commonly known as Vicoba, or both.

“Nearly all adults who used banks also used mobile money services. Mobile money increasingly caters to the needs of most customers, including demand for some advanced