IFC Promotes Use of Mobile Money Interoperability Services in Tanzania

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is launching a consumer education campaign to raise awareness about interoperable mobile money services that help to promote financial inclusion in Tanzania.

In September 2014, Tanzania’s four major mobile phone operators—Vodacom, Tigo, Airtel and Zantel—reached an interoperability agreement to allow their customers to interact with each other. Through the interoperability agreement customers can make payments from the mobile money account of one provider to the mobile money account of another provider. This makes Tanzania one of the first countries in the world with an industry-agreed interoperable market for mobile financial services.

IFC, with the support of the Bank of Tanzania, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Financial Sector Deepening Trust, facilitated the industry-led discussions that have led to agreement between the four operators, and continues to work with key actors in the market in Tanzania to deepen and strengthen financial inclusion.

An IFC report, “Achieving Interoperability in Mobile Financial Services: Tanzania Case Study,” identified limited awareness of interoperability, coupled with competitive pressures and lack of trust among operators as key barriers to growth in the sector.

“Mobile payments services have had a tremendous impact in promoting financial inclusion in many countries of the world, including Tanzania and its neighboring countries,” said Riadh Naouar, Head of Advisory Services, IFC Financial Industries Group. “IFC is invested in the continued development of this regional innovation and is providing investments and technical support to banks, mobile network operators, microfinance institutions and other payment services providers.”

The marketing campaign, which aims to reach one million individuals, is to be launched at Biafra Grounds. It will be rolled out over six months from March to September 2017. IFC has appointed Fern Tanzania Ltd, a Tanzanian marketing firm to lead the campaign, in collaboration with the mobile phone operators.

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