The Star (Nairobi)

29 November 2012

Kenya: Githae Tells Banks to Take Up Mobile Money

Finance minister Njeru Githae yesterday said banks should be receptive to banking innovations by mobile phone companies. "These are signs that our economy is growing. When an economy grows, we should expect convergence of services," he said.

He was referring to Safaricom and Commercial Bank of Africa's newly launched mobile banking platfor m- M-Shwari which was unveiled on Tuesday.

Githae said the Central Bank has put in place control measures and set the minimum and maximum limits when it comes to mobile money transfers.

"Banks should embrace these ideas as mobile phone companies have become very innovative. We have seen Equity Bank partner with Safaricom in M-Kesho. There is no cause for alarm since we are trying to bring about financial inclusiveness. Here Safaricom is partnering with CBA bank," he said.

Githae was speaking at Treasury after receiving a $3.5 million (Sh297.5) grant from the Investment Climate Facility for Africa. However Githae admitted that the distinction between mobile companies and banks will soon be blurred but insisted that the low income earners have been given financial inclusiveness.

Economic secretary Geoffrey Mwau said that the future lies in mobile money and banks should joined in to remain competitive. "In Ghana, funerals are big. Mobile phone companies started a funeral insurance scheme and many joined in. This was an additional product which helped the low income earners give their loved ones a decent send off," said ICF chief executive Omari Issa.

Issa said the grant will help Kenya Trade Network Agency implement and operate the national electronic single window system. "We will have a paperless system at the port of Mombasa and it will take 3 days to clear cargo. This will eliminate corruption," said Issa.

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