3 March 2012

Tanzania: African Bank Governors Convene in Zanzibar

Photo: AKDN
Zanzibar's Stone Town attracts thousands of tourists.

Zanzibar — AS the use of mobile phones grows, financial experts said on Thursday that the mobile phone growth necessitates the introduction of non-bank players, new business model, and understanding of new risks.

At different occasion, at the opening of the "African Financial Inclusion" (AFI) forum being held at Diamond-Dreams of Zanzibar Hotel, north of Zanzibar stone town, the main speakers emphasized on developing Mobile Financial Services (MFS) in individual countries.

"This is a development in the use of mobile phones. Let us have strategic policies to expand the services. The mobile services such as M-pesa, Tigo-pesa, Z-pesa, and Airtel pesa have made tremendous reforms in money transaction in the country," said Mr Khamis Mussa Omar, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the ministry of Finance, Economy, and Development Planning.

Professor Benno Ndulu, Governor of Bank of Tanzania said commitment was important in developing MFS with about 84,000 agents nationwide transacting approximately 21 million US dollars money daily.

As in many countries, the MFS have benefited Tanzanians urban and rural dwellers who previously did not have access to bank financial services. The mobile financial services have even gone beyond the borders, facilitating domestic and international remittances.

Professor Njuguna Ndugu, Governor of central Bank of Kenya, said the role of MFS in his country has made it easy for people communicate and send money faster compared to banks. "Farmers and pastoralists can now communicate easily," he said as Dr Alfred Hannig, executive director, AFI said it was an opportunity for African to improve MFS.

The Bank of Tanzania, Central Bank of Kenya and Alliance for Financial Inclusion organized the Zanzibar meeting on African Mobile Financial Services and Financial Inclusion, drawing participants from 39 African countries and several international organizations.The forum brings together about 100 participants, including central bank governors from Ghana, Rwanda, Burundi,

Sierra-Leon, Guinea, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Sudan, and host Tanzania, local financial institutions and mobile network operators to deliberate on how to embark on initiatives to use mobile technology to increase access to financial services.

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