Kenya’s telecom courts regional customers to shrug off local competition

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 statement said.

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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. Enditem

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Source: Xinhua/

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