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Low-cost mobile money increases access to financial services in Tanzania

Mobile money platform M-Pesa has been credited with helping lift two percent of Kenyans out of poverty. But mobile money’s impact in neighboring and more populous Tanzania is also significant.

A report from the World Bank has found that digital money in Tanzania has helped expand access to financial services from 11 percent of the population in 2006 to 62 percent today (the whole of sub-Saharan Africa is about 10 percent).

When M-Pesa launched in Tanzania in 2008, a year after Kenya, there were 112,000 mobile-money subscribers in the country; today there are 53.3 million accounts and 17.6 million active users in a population of 49 million.

Unlike Kenya, Tanzania has a highly competitive mobile-money sector — all five of the country’s main mobile operators offer mobile-money services. Because these services transact between each other, the movement of money between individuals is more fluid.

Mobile-money transactions amount to 43 trillion Tanzanian shillings ($20.7 billion) annually — that’s 47 percent of the country’s GDP.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha’s daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Photo Credit: Philippe Lissac

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