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Tanzania M-Pesa users share in R33.8m profits

Vodacom Tanzania Plc disbursed profit accumulated on associated Trust Accounts to its over 10 million M-Pesa users, with subscribers receiving their share by 31 October 2021. The profit is paid to individual customers, retail agents and other M-Pesa business partners based on their wallet transactions and account activity over a stated period.

M-Pesa is Tanzania’s largest mobile financial service since its introduction in 2008.

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Vodacom’s flagship digital payments service commands over a third of the estimated 30 million active mobile money accounts that generate approximately 300 million transactions to a total value of around R76.2b in Tanzania each month. The introduction of these mobile network operator (MNO) financial products developed before the country’s National Payment Systems Act was drafted and Bank of Tanzania (BOT) decided to involve the MNOs in the subsequent regulatory decision making.

An early advisory to have an MNO partner with one commercial bank to hold payments in trust allowed BOT oversight through the established banking regulations and applied sufficient safeguards while the market matured.

In February 2014 BOT issued a circular asking MNOs to submit applications on how to use the interest accrued on the trust accounts and settled on an annual profit-sharing system that would directly benefit consumers instead of the proposed corporate responsibility schemes that allowed MNOs marketing opportunities. Tigo Pesa was the first mobile money service to share profits in this way in September 2014.

MNOs in Tanzania are not allowed to market mobile money wallets as savings accounts or promise specific interest rates. These services are also prohibited from taking deposits, further differentiating mobile money wallets from investment vehicles.

“We are extremely gratified to see that despite challenging commercial environment being faced by our customers, the M-Pesa service continues to be a major foundation for their economic activities,” commented Epimack Mbeteni, Vodacom Tanzania Director of M-Pesa on the impact of interest pay-outs.

“This revolutionary mobile money platform has played a huge role in building inclusion and access to services in the country,” he continued. “Women and youth have seen the ease and convenience of using M-PESA and are taking advantage of the numerous M-Pesa services that simplify and improve their lives. It has also been a key resource empowering small businesses to weather the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. For us at Vodacom Tanzania, our priority is to make sure that this platform remains the most agile and responsive to customer needs.”

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