Vodacom launches M-cash service M-Pesa in Tanzania

Telecoms

Vodafone's mobile phone-based solution for transferring money is now available in the country, thanks to a partnership between Vodafone and Vodacom Tanzania. The partners commercially launched Vodafone M-Pesa in the country on Wednesday during a function presided over by Finance Minister Mustafa Mkulo.

The service will allow Vodacom subscribers to send and receive money from Sh2,000 (US$1.68) to Sh500,000 (US$420) to all the country's geographical locations including those that lie beyond the reach of commercial banks. M-Pesa is derived from two words with 'M' standing for Mobile while 'Pesa' is a Kiswahili word for Money.

It is hoped that the service will help to revolutionize money transferring in a country where only about 10 per cent of its middle to old aged population of 16million have conventional bank accounts. By contrast, an estimated 7.5 million Tanzanians have either mobile phones or just have access to mobile phones, although only Vodacom’s 4 million subscribers will be able to open an M-Pesa account.

M-Pesa product manager,Jacques Voost said in a presentation that Vodacom has already appointed about 500 M-Pesa agents countrywide - noting that the goal was to have at least 2,000 agents during the first year of the product's life time.

Consequently, the company has already deposited Sh100 million in the M-Pesa account and that the deposits would be growing following the commercial launch.

He defended the level of security associated with the service - noting that it was only introduced after a thorough research in Kenya where the service has been proved secure and very helpful. "Up to $2million is deposited in Safaricom's M-Pesa in Kenya but cases of insecurity are yet to be recorded," he said.

The Citizen