MTN Rwanda to launch mobile micro loans early this year

David Kezio-Musoke

MTN Rwanda will early this year launch its ground breaking mobile micro - savings and loans product, the company’s chief executive has confirmed.

Bart Hofker, MTN Rwanda’s new CEO revealed this recently, during an interview with Inspire Rwanda magazine, adding that the product whose launch date will be announced later will be branded ‘MoKash’.

MoKash, is simply a new service that gives MTN Mobile Money customers the opportunity to save and borrow using their mobile phones. The service, which is targeting over one million of MTN Rwanda’s, Mobile Money users, will be launched in partnership with Kenya’s Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA).

MoKash is revolutionary in the sense that one borrows and saves while earning an interest. It is believed that the amount Rwandan subscribers will be limited to borrowing is between Rwf250,000 and Rwf300,00. MTN Rwanda officials are yet to announce the actual tariffs.

Hofker who doesn’t shy away from his passion for ‘financial inclusion’ in emerging markets like Rwanda said that the telecom company seeks to bank on this service to entrench its market dominance by bringing Rwanda’s unbanked into the financial services loop.

Financial experts believe that besides extending services to the country’s unbanked, MoKash will create incentives for more savings which would positively impact the country’s GDP through increased availability for on-lending.

A relatively similar product to MoKash was launched by MTN Uganda and CBA late last year under the same brand. In neighboring Kenya Safaricom launched the same product branded ‘MShwari’ and even reported overwhelming success with Safaricom CEO saying that his company, “processes a loan every second of the day.”

Kenyan’s Business Daily recently quoted Rwanda’s Central Bank Governor John Rwangombwa as saying that the regulator was in the final stages of licensing the Kenyan headquartered CBA to operate in the country.

An operating license would come as a huge boost for CBA, which has for long set its sights on launching its mobile products in Rwanda to expand its regional footprint and drive growth.

The bank, which recently announced that it had signed up more than 600,000 subscribers with MTN Uganda’s MoKash, said Rwanda’s growing mobile penetration would be key in its plans.

NOTE: This is a developing story and more details will be updated shortly.

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