In yet another exciting development in mobile money innovation, MTN Rwanda, the country’s telecommunications leader has announced that it has opened its corridor with Safaricom in Kenya that will see MTN Mobile Money and M-PESA users send and receive money seamlessly and affordably between the two countries.
This comes just a month after the Company introduced cross-border transactions between MTN Rwanda and MTN Uganda as a move aimed at deepening financial inclusion and boosting regional trade.
Speaking about both partnerships with MTN Uganda and Safaricom, MTN Rwanda CEO Gunter Engling said that the service will enable convenient and affordable regional remittances.
“We are determined to strengthen the path we are taking towards financial inclusion in Rwanda and I believe that this new partnership will be a powerful driver of economic growth,” he said. “We are witnessing huge technological changes that have the potential to usher in a new era of financial inclusion which we are determined to be a part of.”
“The launch marks a key milestone in the realisation of our partnership with Vodafone, wherein we aim to build a scalable model that will accelerate remittance roll-out across Africa. We expect considerable volumes on this corridor, as it will leverage successes of MTN Mobile Money in Rwanda and Uganda, and M-PESA in Kenya,” said Serigne Dioum, MTN Group Head of Mobile Financial Services.”
To send money to Uganda or Kenya, MTN Rwanda customers will be required to dial *830# from their handsets and follow prompts where they will also view the equivalent amount to send based on prevailing foreign exchange rates. They will dial *182# and go to Pending Approvals. Upon sending they will receive a confirmation message that the transaction has gone through.
On the receiver’s side however, Safaricom has a transaction limit for its M-PESA users, which is the equivalent of Shs70,000. If the recipient has a previous balance, which, together with the transferred funds exceeds Shs70,000, the sender will be prompted to input a smaller amount.
“This initiative will not only be of benefit to the customers who may need to send money between the two countries, but will also provide a reliable and affordable way for businesses to transact, thereby helping grow the East African economy”, said Betty Mwangi, Director - Financial Services at Safaricom.
“We are very excited to continue our long-standing partnership with MTN Rwanda, and especially to extend mobile remittance services to both Kenya and Uganda,” said Dare Okoudjou, founder and CEO of MFS Africa, the pan-Africa mobile wallet aggregator behind the service. MFS Africa connects mobile wallet customers across networks and countries in sub-Saharan Africa, enabling convenient and affordable mobile-to-mobile international money transfers.
Speaking about this innovative service, Kenyan High Commissioner to Rwanda, H.E. John Mwangemi said, “Regional remittance is another important milestone towards our regional integration agenda. Launching this regional mobile transfer will go a long way in promoting trade within the East Africa region. We are committed to making it easy for our people to trade across our region and this innovative service is yet another step towards making East Africa a truly competitive market.”
H.E. Richard Kabonero, Ugandan High Commissioner to Uganda, also expressed his delight at the introduction of cross mobile money systems in the region.
“Regional remittance will greatly reduce the cost of doing business across our borders as well as ease other challenges including sending money to students studying in Uganda. It’s a welcome development which we hope will be implemented across the 5 East African Community partner states.”
Denis Karera, Chairman of the East African Business Council also welcomed the drive of East Africans to make the ease of doing business possible.
“I laud MTN’s partnerships in enabling financial inclusion and providing access to basic mobile financial services across the region. An important enabler of doing business is money, and by providing time and cost efficient ways of transferring money, this eases ways of doing business and also strengthens the One Area Network initiative. I call upon telecom operators in the region that are not yet involved to come on board to enhance and ease the cost of doing business.”
The efficiency of MTN Mobile Money will see customers transfer money easier, faster and more conveniently across borders at a fraction of current costs. Just this year, the MTN Mobile Money ecosystem has expanded extensively with the launch of a number of innovative solutions that integrate Mobile Money into the fabric of society.
They include Water Bill Payments, School Fees payments, Tax payments to Rwanda Revenue Authority, Western Union transfers, fuel payments, bank integration services as well as purchases through the ‘Hello Food’ online platform. MTN Mobile Money services have improved the lives of customers across the country, as well as aided in developing Rwanda’s financial infrastructure.