Viewpoint: The Challenges of Mobile Financial Inclusion
One of the gating factors to financial inclusion is the mobile network itself. It sounds simple to say that all of Africa can have access to mobile money, and they can, but if each telco has different wallet structures, charges and fees, then the ease of usage falls sharply. This is why interoperability is a key factor and Tanzania leads the way in this regard.
In February this year, the three leading MNOs – Vodacom, Millicom’s Tigo and Airtel – announced full interoperability. Vodacom’s participation means that over 16 million mobile money users in Tanzania will be able to send payments to each other, regardless of which mobile operator they use. That is a key achievement, with the country claiming to be the first in Africa with full interoperability.
Will others follow? It remains to be seen.
Right now it’s a challenge with some countries actively encouraging inter- and intra- operator partnerships and agreements to enable domestic and cross-border mobile money transfers cheaply and easily …