Rwanda: MTN Mobile Money Breakdown Disrupts Business, Service Delivery

MTN services including mobile money, YOLO and buying internet or voice bundles were down for a couple of hours, Sunday August 1, triggering public outrage.

Jackie Manishimwe an MTN agent in Kimironko, Gasabo District was not able to work the whole day due to system failure because she couldn't deposit, withdraw money for any of her clients or make, then as the system came back it only lasted for a few hours and was down again till the time she went home.

Charles Dusabe, a trader, said that his business was slow because many people could not pay for commodities. Mobile money is arguably the most popular form payment.

Dusabe said he was forced to sell his goods on credit, which might bring him losses in case customers don't pay back.

Some MTN users took to Twitter to express their frustration, with one twitter user saying he couldn't pay his bill at the barber shop and was forced to stay at the shop till he was able to pay.

"MTN please fix Momo, because people cannot get any medical care at health centres, unless they pay through Momo" read one tweet of an MTN user.

Rwanda Energy Group Limited also said that purchasing electricity was not possible using MoMo.

"Purchasing electricity using MoMo is not working again. @MTNRwanda is working hard to solve the issue. Kindly be Patient." The tweet read.

Chantal Kagame, Chief Executive Officer, Mobile Money Rwanda Limited Told The New Times that there was a problem in the system that caused the services to go down.

"The platform wasn't stable, which made us shut it down, notifications are very important in mobile money transactions, so if you do not receive a notification, the transaction cannot be made, that is why the system was shut down to avoid any problems for our customers." She said

"We are trying to understand what happened, we will have a full report of what caused the problem in 24 hours, but we want to ensure our customers that we are working hard to sort the issue so it cannot happen again." she added.

Ernest Nsabimana, Director General of Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) said they were very well aware of the problem that went down, but further actions will be taken once they have the full report.

"As regulators we are following up the issue, our team will investigate and give us a full report after 48 hours, then the report will show us what caused the problem if it was poor service delivery, or any other problem, then we will be able to take action according to what the report shows," he said.