27 May 2013

Mozambique: Vodacom Launches M-Pesa Service

The Mozambican mobile phone operator Vodacom on 16 May in Maputo launched its M-Pesa cash transfer service.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Ernesto Gove, the governor of the Bank of Mozambique, said that the existence of a strong and stable financial system that is comprehensive and inclusive is an objective that must be realized for the benefit of people living in districts without any point of access.

M-Pesa was launched by Vodacom in Kenya in 2007 and is now available in eight countries including Tanzania, Afghanistan, South Africa, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Worldwide it has 17 million users.

According to Gove, adjustments to the legal and regulatory framework in 1999 and 2004 opened the way for new forms of financial institutions and the emergence of new services and products.

The launch ceremony was attended by members of the government, business figures and other guests.

An academic report last year into the mKesh service provided by Mozambique's publicly-owned mobile phone company mCel found that financial literacy has increased in rural areas where mobile money has been introduced.

According to the researchers, there are about five million subscribers to mobile phone services, which is about a quarter of the population. This makes the potential for mobile money in rural Mozambique enormous, given that bank branches do not extend beyond provincial capitals and some, but by no means all, of the district capitals.

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