TechInAfrica – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is developing a mobile money transfer system for the bloc. According to Zimbabwean banker and chairman of the SADC Payments Scheme Management Body Andrew Mugari,
“We are running a pilot to enable customers to transfer funds to any SADC country using mobile phones which will bring further convenience to the customers in the SADC region. Two banks, ZB Bank in Zimbabwe and Zanaco in Zambia as well as Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Mukuru and Terrapay in South Africa, as well as Airtel in Malawi, are involved in the pilot tests. Once successful, we will roll-out to all member regional banks and MNOs and this is part of a financial inclusion strategy in the region.”
To assist SADC Member States in facilitating the harmonization of its legal and regulatory frameworks for mobile money, in turn of greater financial inclusion and market development in the SADC region, FinMark Trust, a financial services market analysis firm, help developed Mobile Money Guidelines. Customers can then transfer funds in real-time to any country within SADC’s reach using its Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system.
“The major benefit to customers is that they get same day value and therefore we urge customers in Zimbabwe to make use of this system. When they approach banks, they should request that their payments go through the SADC RTGS system. We are also working towards making the platform very cheap for customers when they make cross border transactions,” said Mr. Mugari.
In total, about 83 banks already on board with the SADC RTGS platform, and the numbers are growing. Earlier this month, SADC commercial banks met in Angola to discuss issues of enhancing the regional RTGS platform. Seeking for payments regional integration and harmonization, the SADC Payments Scheme Management Body derives its mandate from the Finance and Investment Protocol, which was signed by SADC Heads of States in Maseru, Lesotho on August 2006.