More Rwandans can now access micro-loans thanks to new initiatives by telecom firms. Already, micro-loans worth Rwf260 million were disbursed by MTN Rwanda under its MoKash platform during the first six months of the year, according to the telecom firm’s officials. Some Rwf135 million has been saved by subscribers on the platform.
MoKash is a platform that enables MTN Mobile Money customers to save on their mobile money wallet as well as acquire short-term micro-loans, through the partnership of Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA).
While presenting the firm’s half year results in Kigali, Bart Hofker, the MTN Rwanda chief executive officer, said the MoKash service has so far registered 500,000 active customers.
“The number of customers using the platform has reached 500,000 people in only six months. We are seeing big increases, meaning that more Rwandans are now able to access financial services,” he said on Friday.
Norman Munyampundu, the company’s business general manager, attributed this to growth of MoKash subscriber numbers and deposits plus continuous campaigns by the firm, encouraging the mobile money service users to save. According to MTN officials, the Mobile Money service accounts for over 67 per cent of the total transaction value on the market. Overall, the telecom firm recorded a 3 per cent growth in revenues during the reporting period.
High interest explained
There have been many complaints with customers saying that the 9 per cent interest rate charged is high. But Munyampundu attributed this to the fact that the telecom is currently working with a “limited number of banks”.
“If we had more banks on board, this wouldn’t be the case. However, this could soon change as we are trying to create partnerships with other banks, which hopefully will help to bring down the rate,” he said.
Meanwhile, the company projects network investments to increase by 15 per cent this year compared to 2015. The telecom firm said it will also kick-start an extensive data sensitisation programme to educate customers about their data products to deepen data.
In a related development, Hofker said MTN would pay the Rwf7 billion ($8.5 million) fine imposed by the regulator for noncompliance by the end of this month. He assured customers that this will not affect its cash flow or the performance of the telecom.
MTN has 3.51 million subscribers or 42 per cent of the market, while Tigo commands a 39 per cent (3.25 million users) share of the market and Airtel has 19 per cent share or 1.58 million customers.Follow https://twitter.com/Julio_Bizimungu