Responsible Finance Forum

Enabling Mobile Money Policies in Tanzania

Simone di CaStri and Lara Gidvani
01 February 2014
Source:  GSMA
 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The National Payment System directorate (nPSd) at the Bank of Tanzania (Bot) began its mobile money regulatory journey i 2008, when a visit from one of the country’s mobile network operators (mnos) introduced the idea that a simple mobile handset could do much more than make calls. From this first meeting, the Bot was keen to engage with the mobile industry to learn more about the potential of digital financial inclusion – a new and unfamiliar topic to the Bank.

Seeking to enable digital financial inclusion, but lacking national payment systems legislation to issue regulations, the Bot elected to take an interim step. it issued ‘letters of no objection’ 1 to the partner banks of vodacom’s m-PeSa and Zantel’s Z-Pesa (relaunched in 2012 as “ezy Pesa”), allowing them to launch in 2008. two more deployments followed: Zain’s Zap in 2009 and tigo Pesa in 2010. as the market has continued to develop, the Bot has made concerted efforts to find a legal and regulatory framework that would provide sufficient legal certainty and consistency to support a stable mobile money market, promote financial inclusion, and protect customer draft regulation that allows both banks and non-banks to provide mobile payment services has gone through two iterations and will be adopted. meanwhile, the Bot has taken the lead in developing a national Financial inclusion Framework (nFiF) that articulates the role of mobile money as a key enabler of financial inclusion.