MTN Rwanda, Safaricom to interlink mobile money services

MTN Rwanda subscribers will soon be able to make cross-border mobile money transactions, thanks to a deal MTN Group signed with Vodafone Group.
An MTN client makes a mobile money transaction. Mobile money subscribers will soon be able to send or receive money to and from Kenya and Tanzania. (File)
An MTN client makes a mobile money transaction. Mobile money subscribers will soon be able to send or receive money to and from Kenya and Tanzania. (File)

MTN Rwanda subscribers will soon be able to make cross-border mobile money transactions, thanks to a deal MTN Group signed with Vodafone Group.

The deal will see MTN users in Rwanda transfer cash to Kenya or Tanzania through Safaricom and Tanzania’s Vodacom M-Pesa platform “within weeks,” according to Norman Munyampundu, the head of mobile money at MTN Rwanda.

UK-based Vodafone owns controlling stakes in Kenya’s Safaricom and Vodacom.

Munyampundu said they are already conducting technical tests for the service, as well as working on country specific contracts to conclude the deal.

“We are still testing the service with Safaricom’s M-Pesa...However, we will launch mobile money transactions between MTN Rwanda and Vodacom in the coming weeks after finalising the paperwork,” he explained.

Munyampundu said the initiative is part of the firm’s wider plan to facilitate cross-border mobile money transfers in the region and ease the cost of doing business.

Under the memorandum of understanding signed by MTN Group and Vodafone Group, the two firms agreed to “share best practices and work together to define the rules and standards of mobile-based remittances in Africa”.

Last week, MTN Group signed a collaboration agreement that will allow MTN mobile money users in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia to make international remittances with M-Pesa customers in Kenya, Tanzania, the DR Congo, Mozambique, and vice versa.

MTN and Bharti Airtel announced plans to start cross-border mobile money transfers between the Northern Corridor states – Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda – in November last year.

However, the telecoms say the service launch was postponed following regulatory delays by Kenyan and Ugandan communications agencies.

Munyampundu is optimistic the service will be launched soon to facilitate payments given the platform’s growing usage in the region.

Vodafone director for mobile money Michael Joseph said the agreement with MTN to connect the firm’s mobile money wallets in East Africa “is a fantastic example of co-operation and interoperability between competing mobile operators.”

“By working together, we will deliver cheaper, faster money transfers, improving the lives of many people living in the seven countries involved,” Joseph told Business Daily.

ben.gasore@newtimes.co.rw

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