FEB 4, 2013
Ecobank Tanzania part of the Ecobank group, the leading independent regional banking group in West and Central Africa with operations in 33 countries across the continent, held its first global workshop about Mobile Money Transfer (MMT) in Dar es Salaam on January 30th-31st 2013.
Coordinated by Ecobank Tanzania the event was facilitated by Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), an independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world's poor.
Mobile money, also referred to as M-Pesa (M for mobile, Pesa for money in Swahili) permits to deposit or withdraw cash and send money without the need of a bank account. Ecobank, with a network of 1,200 branches throughout Africa, estimates to cost of each additional branch to be in the region of USD 250,000-600,000. M-Pesa was introduced in 2008 in Tanzania and is currently being used by 9 Million mobile phone subscribers out of 25.8 Million; total monthly transactions were valued at USD 700 Million in December 2012.
M-Pesa was first introduced in Kenya in 2007 where today it counts 19.5 Million subscribers out of 29 Million mobile users. Mobile money transfer penetration in this market is however believed to be reaching saturation. According to Mr Enoch Osei-Safo, Managing Director of Ecobank Tanzania, the country was chosen to hold this Pan-African workshop because of the exponential growth and further growth potential for the M-Pesa service here.
The system was praised by the by the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) Professor Benno Ndulu as an effective tool for the financial inclusion of the unbankable population of Tanzania, a key issue of the current government. To this regard, speaking at the workshop Mr Osei-Safo stated “financial inclusion will provide easy access to banking solutions for Tanzanians who hitherto could not access banking. This is a concept that we are currently rolling out within the Ecobank Group and especially for Tanzania. This will provide easy and accessible financial services across a wider geographical coverage and will be a key tool in the development of businesses in the country”.
The event saw the participation of Ecobank delegations from several African markets that discussed Mobile Money Transfer best practices. Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank Group Executive Director, Domestic Bank, during an exclusive interview with TanzaniaInvest.com stated “Tanzania is a country that we believe of great potential in Africa and Ecobank is the leading Pan African bank with the core founding vision to provide convenient, accessible and reliable financial services in order to develop Africa on the economic front and bring financial services to the uderbanked and the unbanked”.
Enoch Osei-Safo (right) Managing Director of Ecobank TanzaniaIn relation to the deployment of the Ecobank Mobile Money Transfer services he explained that the group is focused on investing significantly in Tanzania, where is currently rolling out its mobile money transfer services. Ecobank mobile money and mobile banking service is currently operating in 6 countries and will be launched in Tanzania within the first half of 2013.
Ecobank Tanzania currently is partnering with 3 telecom companies to enable customers’ access funds from their bank accounts using the mobile handset. TanzaniaInvest.com which was invited at the bank’s workshop to present preliminary findings about Mobile Money Transfer in Tanzania estimates that 10 Million additional subscribers will be achieved in the near future, particularly by reaching the rural population which accounts for 72% of Tanzania’s 45 Million inhabitants.