Tanzania’s mobile growth above SSA average

Tanzania's mobile phone accounts are three times above the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) average to place the country at the pole position globally. 

According to the World Bank, Tanzania mobile accounts stand at 32.4 per cent compared to 11.5 per cent, which was the average for SSA last year.

The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) Director of Banking Supervision, Mr Agapiti Kobelo, said the mobile phone platform has elevated by far the country’s financial penetration regionally.

“We came far away but we are yet to be where we (BoT) want to be,” Mr Kobelo told ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

He said still the whole exercise faces a number of challenges, especially banking segment inclusion which still lags behind at around 14 per cent.

“It is still a challenge,” Mr Kobelo said “the mobile phone and agency banking will elevate the numbers to new highs.”

Agency banking comes as an alternative for banks to not physically opening branches at the areas that were unthinkable. The WB data show that the mobile telephone sending money transactions reached 71.5 per cent against 30.8 per cent of SSA.

While sending transaction via financial institutions amounted to merely 10.7 per cent well below the SSA average of 31 per cent.

Almost similar cases was experienced on the receiving transactions registering a 62.8 per cent through mobile phones while via financial institutions was 10.1 per cent; the SSA average was 27.6 per cent and 26.6 per cent respectively.

However, while mobile phone transactions are climbing to record high, saving rate at banking sector dwindled to 9.0 per cent in 2014 compared to 11.9 per cent in 2011.

“In comparison with its peers in Africa,” said Altemius, Managing Director of Yetu Microfinance, “Tanzania performs poorly as it is only above Mozambique.”

The MD said currently the banks have managed to reach 13.9 per cent of the country bankable population of which mere 4.0 per cent accessed loans.

“In reality banks’ penetration is still low especially if you exclude formal workers,” Mr Millinga said, “the level of exclusion is very high in the rural areas where over 70 per cent lives… something needs to be done to reverse the situation.”
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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