Rwanda: Over Rwf60 Million Moved in 'Mobile Money' Transfers

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About Rwf60 million has been moved in daily transactions, with the use of the 'Mobile Money' facility, a month after it was launched, MTN Rwanda officials said last week.

Andrew Rugege, the MTN Chief Executive Officer (COO) told Business Times on Friday that daily transactions had increased since the 'Mobile Money' platform was launched and added that active subscribers are close to 30,000 of the over 1 million MTN mobile clients. "The majority are active mobile money customers who have been on MTN. We have a good number who have come on board since we launched because of this value added service," Rugege said.

"Public interest has been overwhelming. Evidently people were looking for safe, cost effective and convenient means to transact day-to-day business across the country or simply from one end of the city to another," he added.

'Mobile Money' is a product that was pioneered by MTN Rwanda and launched at the beginning of February this year. It is a facility which allows one to send and receive money from the convenience of ones mobile phone.

Beneficiaries can also buy airtime for themselves. According to officials, in the near future, customers will be able to purchase cash power, pay for taxi fares, purchase groceries and probably buy airline tickets.

The company spent over $2 million as initial capital investment to implement this service. It enables customers on the MTN network sign up and transact at will through the 120 agents that have already been aligned.

The telecom company which is the largest in Rwanda by market share is targeting 100,000 'Mobile Money' customers by the end of 2010. According to Rugege, "this number is achievable" despite the number challenges being faced.

"Some of the challenges include the fact that agents apprehend or the fear handling the technology. This has been addressed by providing continuous training. The other challenge is the lack of service penetration in remote areas but are continuing to expand the number of accredited agents to ensure that the product is available easily," Rugege said.

"Agents also were overwhelmed by the volumes of transactions. Some were initially overwhelmed by the number of customers coming to them wanting to transact 'Mobile Mobile'. The addition of new agents will spread the load more evenly," he added.

MTN Rwanda is currently working with Commercial Bank of Rwanda as the major partner of the scheme. The company expects other financial institutions to come on board. The National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) as the regulator of all financial institutions in the country, is supporting the product. The central bank governor Francios Kanimba said a weeks ago that NBR will endeavour to have the electronic transactions law passed. This law will regulate all 'Mobile Money' facilities as well.

The New Times