MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Safaricom, MTN Rwanda Partner to Enable Transactions Between Kenya’s M-Pesa, MTN Mobile Money

Safaricom, a Kenya-based telecommunications company, recently has partnered with MTN Rwanda, the Rwandan branch of South Africa-based multinational telecommunications provider Mobile Telecommunications Network Group (MTN), to enable cross-border transactions. Customers using M-Pesa, Safaricom’s mobile money service, and clients in Rwanda using the MTN Mobile Money service will be able to transfer money between the two platforms.

Betty Mwangi, the director of financial services at Safaricom, said that “this initiative will not only be of benefit to the customers who may need to send money between the two countries, but will also provide a reliable and affordable way for businesses to transact, thereby helping grow the East African economy”[1]. Norman Munyampundu, the general manager of MTN Business, added that “[…] this new partnership will be a powerful driver of economic growth. The partnership has the potential to expanding financial inclusion, especially with the growing usage of mobile money in Rwanda”[1].

As of September 30, 2014, Safaricom reported 21.9 million customers, and M-Pesa served 19.5 million customers worldwide. As it was reported by MicroCapital in April 2015, Safaricom partnered with Vodacom Tanzania earlier in the year to facilitate international mobile money transactions between Kenya and Tanzania.

As of 2015, MTN Rwanda has approximately 3.8 million subscribers, and its coverage extends to approximately 98 percent of the Rwandan population. The total number of mobile money service subscribers in the country grew from approximately 2.54 million to 5.59 million in 2014. As of 2015, MTN reported approximately 203.8 million subscribers in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

By Alíz Crowley, Research Associate

About Safaricom

Safaricom is a Kenya-based telecommunications company that was established in April 1997 as a private limited liability company and was converted into a public company with limited liability in May 2002. Safaricom is 35-percent owned by the government of Kenya and 40-percent owned by the UK-based telecommunications company Vodafone. As of September 30, 2014, the company has a market capitalization of KSH 516.5 million (USD 5.78 billion). As of September 30, 2014, Safaricom reported 21.9 million customers.

About M-Pesa

M-Pesa is a mobile money service that was launched in Kenya in 2007 and has since been replicated in nine additional countries. Launched by Safaricom Limited, a Kenya-based cellphone service provider, M-Pesa was developed by Vodafone Group Private Limited Corporation, a British mobile network operator. The “M” stands for “mobile,” and “pesa” means “cash” in Swahili. As of December 31, 2014, M-Pesa serves approximately 19.5 million clients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Fiji, India, Lesotho, Mozambique, Romania, South Africa and Tanzania.

About Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN)

Established in South Africa in 1994, Mobile Telecommunications Network Group (MTN) is a multinational telecommunications provider that offers voice and data communication services to individuals and businesses. MTN also operates Mobile Money, a money-transfer service that can be used on cellular devices. As of 2014, MTN reported total revenue of ZAR 146.9 billion (USD 12 billion) and total assets of ZAR 253.7 billion (USD 20 billion). As of 2015, MTN reported approximately 203.8 million subscribers in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

About Mobile Telecommunications Network Rwanda (MTN Rwandacell Limited)

MTN Rwanda (MTN Rwandacell Limited) was established in 1998, as the Rwandan branch of South Africa based Mobile Telecommunications Group (MTN). As of 2015, the organization has approximately 3.8 million subscribers, and its coverage extends to approximately 98 percent of the Rwandan population.

Sources and Additional Resources

[1] All Africa, Rwanda: M-Pesa Customers Can Now Send and Receive Money From Rwanda

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Safaricom

MicroCapital Universe Profile: M-Pesa

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Mobile Telecommunications Network Group (MTN)

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Mobile Telecommunications Network Rwanda (MTN Rwandacell Limited)

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