In a move focused at deepening financial inclusion in East Africa, MTN and Vodafone have agreed to intersect their mobile money services.
Customers of mobile money platform M-Pesa in Kenya, Tanzania as well as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique together with MTN clients in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia will now be able to transact money directly to each other.
“Our agreement with MTN to connect our mobile money wallets in East Africa is a fantastic example of co-operation and interoperability between competing mobile operators,” Vodafone director of mobile money Michael Joseph said in a statement.
The partnership between two of the largest telecommunication firms in Africa, is expected to deliver cheaper and faster money transfers in the region. This is expected to improve the lives of many people in the countries involved as well as foster the growth of these economies.
(READ MORE: Safaricom brings M-Pesa home)
“After successful launches in Ivory Coast and Benin in West Africa, we are looking enthusiastically at the collaboration with Vodafone in East Africa. Together, we aim to build a scalable model that will accelerate remittance roll-out across the continent,” said [DATA MTN:MTN] group head of mobile financial services, Serigne Dioum.
Furthermore, with East Africa’s vibrant mobile money transfer sector, residents are this year expected to enjoy low cost money as well as data transfer under the ‘One Area Network’ an initiative by the five country member state.
This move has taken the East African Community (EAC) a step forward in its integration process. The One Network Area initiative by the East African Community Heads of State envisages the reduction of International and Roaming tariffs reduced to lower costs of doing business as well as deepening social integration in the region.
(READ MORE: Deepening financial inclusion in E.Africa)
“EA has been the cutting edge in terms of driving the use of mobile technology in financial services. So we are breaking new ground if you like and regulation has to be responsive in that contest to facilitate the innovation while ensuring that the depositors or the borrowers are protected,” Old Mutual CEO, Peter Mwangi told cnbcafrica.com in a past event on financial inclusion.
(WATCH VIDEO: Innovation within East Africa’s financial inclusion process)