MTN Rwanda yesterday announced that the company will be launching its MTN Mobile Money product on to the Rwandan market before the end of the year.
The launch follows an extensive technological and legislative process that has been managed under the supervision of The National Bank of Rwanda.
‘MTN Mobile Money’ which will the first of its kind in Rwanda will be available to customers on the MTN network and will enable customers send money from anywhere to anywhere in the country.
Traditionally people in Rwanda have been sending money to friends, relatives or business associates through an assortment of means like banks, the Post Office but mainly by hand through third parties.
Only 14 percent, about 1.35 million of the Rwandan population currently use banking facilities in comparison to the mobile phone telecommunication sector that has more than 20 percent (1.9million) of the population owning a phone.
The introduction of MTN Mobile Money is going to revolutionise this with convenience, speed, cost and safety of all money transfer transactions.
The Mobile Money transaction systems have been very successful in Kenya and Uganda. MTN operations in Uganda are also set to start international money transfer services.
The development not only shifts the competition terrain to a geographical level, but ushers the telecoms into one of the most capitalised industries, international remittances.
MTN and Zain have moved over Rwf10 billion in mobile money transactions since they started the service. This is just a small fraction of the global trade that the telecoms are now likely to tap into.
Recent surveys in Kenya showed that 52 percent of all money transfers were being done through M-Pesa The local name for Mobile Money Transfer and 93 percent of the people surveyed were happy with the system because it gave removed so many barriers and did not limit the amount one could send.
Today there are close to 6 million regular users in Kenya.
MTN Rwanda will begin testing the system and piloting with selected MTN Mobile Money Agents.
CEO Khaled Mikkawi explained that the company system testing exercise is a critical process we have to go through whenever we introduce a new product onto the market.
”We are proud to be involved in this initiative that is critical to the financial deepening of the Rwandan Economy and we are also fortunate that other MTN markets have launched it and we have key learning’s to deliver an exciting service to the people of Rwanda,” Mikkawi said.
South African mobile phone operator MTN launched a money transfer system for unbanked customers in Africa and the Middle East, aiming to boost subscriber loyalty and entice new users in March this year.
Only one in five African households in African has access to a bank account, according to the United Nations, but a much higher proportion have a mobile phone and many operators hope offering financial services will attract new customers.
The technology works like a mobile bank account, enabling MTN customers to make money transfers and payments.
MTN has piloted the service in Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria. It is now working on deploying the service in the Middle East, including in Afghanistan and Syria.