62% of Adults in Tanzania Now Use Mobile Money Services

Some 62 percent of adults are covered with mobile money services across the country so far, a national financial digital money conference heard in Dar es salaam.

The Bank of Tanzania Senior Legal Counsel, George Sije said, during the Mobile Money and Digital Payments Conference running under the theme Risk Management in the Mobile Money Ecosystem.

The Conference has gathered over 200 industry leaders (Telecoms, Banking, Insurance, IT, Risk Management, NGOs, Government, DFIs and so on) and regulators to discuss progress made over the years in developing the mobile money industry in Tanzania.

He said that so far, mobile money has been a contributor to formal access and usage of financial services.

Speaking on the adequacy of regulation, oversight and depositor protection mechanisms in the mobile money industry, Dr Emmanuel Manasseh from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), said disruptive innovators enter the market to provide products and services which not only increase consumer welfare and drive financial inclusion, but also force their competition to up their game.

However, he noted that the full potential of mobile money has not yet been realized. He noted that while disruptive innovation generally flows from the private sector, without the appropriate ‘rules of the game’ in place there will be little scope for new entrants to play on the field.

“Without regulatory environment conducive to fostering and promoting innovation, it is likely to be stifled,” he said The TCRA official noted that regulators tend to keep close eye on ensuring that service providers comply with the rules.

“Innovators may tend to concentrate on their products or services rather than the regulatory environment they are operating in,” he said. He hailed mobile payments and transfers for the building blocks of digital financial inclusion. He said the platform had proven to give a lot of people access to payment and transfer services as well as access to broader range of financial services.

“Mobile Money expands financial inclusion by expanding access to financial services in areas out of reach of traditional financial providers and improving convenience for customers,”he said.

He said increase in the penetration rate of mobile infrastructure is associated with increase in financial inclusion.Their goal, according to him, is to increase universal access to communications in undeserved and unserved areas.

Currently, he said mobile network operators (MNOs) expand digital connectivity and thus bring more people in emerging markets into the mobile network. On the importance of regulation, he said the success of MM is due to the created level playing field that allowed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), into the market as mobile money providers.

At the conference, TCRA, BoT and other policy making institutions emphasized their commitment to financial inclusion, and have pursued this goal practically. He hailed the regulatory framework that is sufficiently flexible to allow stakeholders to enjoy the benefits of technological innovations such as efficiency gains and new services.

Participants agreed that Mobile Money had transformed the way people access financial services, while offering new business opportunities. An enabling policy and regulatory framework creates level playing field that fosters competition and innovation, they said.

Originally published on DailyNews Tanzania

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