Seamless Money Transfer among Kenyan Telcos to Drive Financial Inclusion Kenya

Kenyan mobile money users will directly send and receive money across three networks at no additional cost beginning this April.
“Kenya now joins 15 other countries across the world that have successfully implemented wallet-to-wallet interoperability. This is a significant step for the mobile money operators in Kenya,” read a notice published in the Kenyan dailies.
“With such tremendous achievement, the move to launch mobile money interoperability can only be seen as another great step towards furthering financial inclusion,” the statement adds.
“The three mobile money operators: Airtel, Telkom and Safaricom have come together to offer the customer mobile money Interoperability. This service will allow for the seamless transfer of funds from one mobile money wallet (M-Pesa, Airtel Money and T-Kash)  to another across networks.”
Previously, the transfer of funds across networks was complex, costly and inconvenient.
The ICT ministry and the Communications Authority of Kenya have been spearheading the process.
In an interview with ITWeb Africa, via email, Safaricom CEO  Bob Collymore said “If you look around the world, and even in the region, there has been a trend in the sector towards consolidation. Many players are realising that it is very costly to roll out proprietary networks, so infrastructure sharing is becoming more practical.
On the other hand, we see global internet firms, such as Facebook and Google, are offering the same services as mobile service providers. Such Over-the-Top players are very profitable, yet own no mobile networks and do not need to invest in running and maintaining of such networks.”
Interoperability has been highlighted by the GSMA as a key objective in the development of mobile financial services.

‘Interoperability of Mobile Money: International Experience and Recommendations for Mozambique Final Report (28/12/2016)’ “ Interoperability is bound to help in two aspects: First, it substantially improves the value proposition of mobile money, by increasing customer benefits. Second, it reduces the cost of actually reaching the most outlying parts of the population through the agent network.”

Countries with Interoperability of Mobile Money include:
Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa,  Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Mozambique.
“Kenya, which currently stands at a 75% financial inclusion rate, has been greatly impacted by efforts by banks to leverage the mobile phone as a channel and with mobile network operators (MNOs) innovating new ways to bridge the financial exclusion gap by offering Mobile Financial Services.,” said Aldo Maureuse, Chief Executive, Telkom Kenya during the launch of T-Kash.
According to Aldo, their entry into Mobile Financial Services is “Therefore a strategic move to better utilise our infrastructure, providing customer value on current services while aligning to future market developments. Because we are fully aware that to achieve financial inclusion in the years ahead is not just about applying and building on existing products but continued innovation to better meet the needs of the excluded.”