Vodacom Tanzania and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) have launched a banking service named M-Pawa allowing Tanzanians to save and borrow money on their mobile phones.
Similar to Kenya’s M-Shwari, launched by CBA with Safaricom, M-Pawa combines CBA’s banking platform with M-Pesa’s distribution system, which boasts over 65,000 agents across Tanzania.
Tanzania’s president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete said the launch of M-Pawa highlights the success in reforms made in the country’s financial sector, coupled with heavy investment made by mobile communication players.
“This has allowed our people to access affordable financial services through their mobile phone,” he said.
Vodacom Tanzania managing director Rene Meza said the service will further enhance Tanzania’s financial inclusion agenda.
“M-Pawa is easy to use since the customers do not need to fill in application forms while opening the account. They can open a bank account by simply accessing the M-Pesa menu on their phone and selecting M-Pawa. Furthermore, there are no ledger fees, limits on the frequency of withdrawals, minimum operating balances and charges on deposits and withdrawals from M-Pesa to M-Pawa accounts and vice versa,” he said.
CBA Tanzania board chairperson Ndewirwa Kitomari said Vodacom was a natural choice as delivery partner because of its extensive coverage of the country coupled with its strong M-Pesa agent network, which will allow for rapid uptake of the product.
“We are optimistic that this service will grow in Tanzania because various studies have shown us that most people want to save and grow their money but are unable to do so because they are unable to meet most of the requirements of the formal banking sector. M-Pawa is our response to this need,” said Meza.
Customers can sign up for M-Pawa by accessing the M-Pesa menu on their phone, selecting M-Pawa and then choose between saving, withdrawing or taking out a loan.
For a subscriber to qualify for a loan, they need to have used M-Pesa for at least six months and have a saving history on M-Pawa.
Vodacom Tanzania has also integrated its M-Pesa service with 21 commercial banks in the country.