Mobile phones could overcome difficulties in accessing financial services in Mozambique

2 July 2013

Mobile phones are “the solution” for the Mozambican population to have access to financial services, given that there are more than 10 million mobile phone users in the country, an official from the Bank of Mozambique said recently in Maputo.

Henrique Matsinhe, director of the Payments systems Depart of the Bank of Mozambique, said that mobile phones had “great potential for expanding mobile financial services,” given that there are banks in just 67 of Mozambique’s 128 districts.

“If we compare the whole population (around 23 million people) we find that around 42 percent have access to mobile phone services and around 78 percent of the adult population (13 million) have access to mobile services,” Matsinhe told the Mozambican press.

Information recently published by Mozambique’s National Communications Institute pointed to around “10 million mobile phone subscribers,” in the country, which has three mobile telecommunications operators, Moçambique Celular (mCel), Vodacom Moçambique and Movitel.

With a total of around “5 million customers” state company mCel, founded in 1997, was the first operator to launch mobile banking services, via a partnership with a company called Carteira Móvel, which led to creation of a service called mKesh.

According to the chief executive of Carteira Móvel, Nadean Szafman, the mKesh service, which was introduced two years ago currently ahs 165,000 users and 3,000 agents across the country’s 11 provinces.

In May of this year, Vodacom Moçambique – which is owned by Vodacom International Limited (85 percent), Emotel (5 percent), Intelec Holdings (5 percent) and Whatana Investments (5 percent) – launched a similar service known as M-Pesa.

Movitel, which ahs been operating for a year and whose shareholders are Vietnam’s Viettel and Mozambique’s SPI, is the only mobile operator that does not provide a similar service to its “2 million customers.”

Banks are also in the race to provide mobile financial services, including Millennium bim, with its “Millennium IZI” service, and Banco Comercial e de Investimentos (BCI), with “Tako Móvel”. (macauhub)