Tanzania debuts Africa’s first universal interoperable mobile money network

Vodacom’s M-Pesa has joined Tigo, Zantel and Airtel’s interoperable network in Tanzania.

Their participation creates Africa’s first universal interoperable mobile money network, allowing more than 16 million mobile money users in Tanzania to conduct transactions with one-another regardless of which mobile operator they use.

A pioneering interoperability agreement between Tigo, Airtel and Zantel was first announced in 2014;since then, interoperability between mobile money accounts has accounted for an increase of 3.5 times the value of total offline transactions. After announcing it would join the interoperable network one year ago, Vodacom has now implemented the deal.

Interoperability in Tanzania today is not exclusive to mobile operators, and also includes more than 25 banks. The country’s 16 million mobile financial users transact the equivalent of more than 50% of Tanzania’s GDP each month. Thanks to this growing network, Tanzania is now the leading place for mobile money in east Africa, overtaking Kenya.

Ruan Swanepoel , head of Mobile Financial Services  at Tigo Tanzania, said: “We believe interoperability is crucial to the success of mobile money and the wider goal of increasing financial inclusion. It is also a fundamental building block towards constructing a digital economy, enabling merchants and other start-ups to participate in the financial services ecosystem. Our aim going forward is to reach similar agreements with networks in other markets.” 

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