NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Integration of mobile money services in East Africa has gone a
notch higher after Kenya’s leading telecom Safaricom partnered with its
counterparts in Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.
The partnership allows
citizens in the four countries to send and receive money easily and affordably
as Safaricom seeks to deepen use of its flagship mobile money service M-Pesa
across the region.
The move means that Kenyans, Rwandese, Ugandans and Tanzanians can send money
or receive money from their kin easily and, more importantly, transact business
amongst each other.
"East Africa just got closer than you ever imagined. You can now send and
receive cash fast and conveniently across the region through M-Pesa," said
Safaricom in a statement Tuesday.
"Whether it’s sending cash to your business partners in Rwanda, sending
pocket money to your college-going children in Uganda, sending money to family
in Tanzania or suppliers in Kenya, you can do it all through your phone," the
Unlike previously, all citizens now need to carry out mobile money
transactions is a three digit code or a pay bill number.
And more interestingly, the money will be delivered in the currency of the
country where the recipient is based, saving users the hustle of withdrawing the
cash and seeking for conversion services.
"In Uganda, the funds will be delivered as Ugandan shillings, in Rwanda
Rwandan Francs and in Tanzania, the funds will be provided in Tanzanian
shillings," said Safaricom.
Transaction charges range from 0.02 U.S. dollars to 2.2 dollars depending on
amount to be sent in all the countries, with the amounts on some of the
transaction bands even being lower than those charged within in Kenya.
Analysts noted that Safaricom is spreading its wings across the region as it
seeks to beat competition expected from commercial banks, which have partnered
to launch their own money transfer services.
Kenyans transact up to 8.5 million dollars on mobile money in the past three
months, according to the data from the Central Bank of Kenya.