The Bank of Tanzania (BOT), has recently announced that Tanzania is the first country in the world the achieve full interoperability after mobile operator Tigo, reached an agreement with Tanzania to allow mobile money transfers between the respective mobile networks.
The announcement was done by BOT’s Governor, Prof. Benno Ndulu, whom in a recent meeting with the World Bank (WB) to discuss financial inclusion in the country, explained that Vodacom has joined an interoperability agreement signed in 2014 between Limited (Zantel) that allow its mobile money users to transfer money to other users from other mobile operators.
The full interoperability achieved in Tanzania is consequence of WB International Finance Corporation Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT) and BOT efforts to advice and support Tigo and Airtel to reach a tariff agreement in accordance with the electronic wallet interoperability rules in September, 2014, and between Tigo and Zantel in December, 2014.
This is an important milestone and first of its kind in the world in line with Vodacom’s commitment to create cashless society with flexible payment options and with fully participation in Tanzania’s formal financial system by spreading financial inclusion, explained Vodacom’s Managing Director Ian Ferrao.
The partnership between Vodacom and Tigo is a sign of all mobile network operators’ commitment to further spread financial inclusion in Tanzania by boosting innovation and bringing fast and convenient financial services to all socio-economic levels, Airtel’s Managing Director Sunil Colaso added.
According to BOT’s Financial Stability Report released in December, 2015, payment systems operated by mobile phone recorded high rates of growth in volume and value, positioning Tanzania at the top of the world in terms of registered users.
Tanzania’s registered users of mobile payment services increased to 41,380,791 as of December, 2014, from 31,830,289 in December, 2013, marking a growth of 30% and reaching a ratio of 84% of adults using mobile phones for money transactions that surpasses Kenya’s rate at 68% according to the WB.
This is why the BOT has recently set a new financial inclusion target for Tanzania of 80% of adult population using a financial access point by 2017, after the country exceeded the target of 50% by 2016 under the National Financial Inclusion Framework (NFIF 2014/2017) with 55% financial inclusion in 2014.
The full mobile money interoperability complements cross-border agreements reached by Tigo Tanzania in 2014 to allow its mobile money platform to transfer money with customers of the same network in Rwanda and Vodacom’s agreement with Safaricom Kenya in 2015 to allow transactions between their users.