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Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to establish mobile money regulation

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Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

Reserve Bank of ZimbabweThe Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon Gono, announced yesterday the introduction of a deliberate legal and regulatory framework for Mobile Financial Services. The announcement was made as part of the Monetary Policy Statement presentation. “As monetary authorities, we are currently seized with the drafting of appropriate guidelines and policies,” said the Governor.

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Specifically the process will produce, a ‘Payment systems oversight guideline’, an ‘E-money and electronic payments guideline’ and an ‘Agency banking guideline’. The guidelines are all scheduled to be finalized this year. The move comes after the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) complained last month that mobile operators were competing unfairly against them in the provision of mobile financial services in the country. The complaints are aimed mostly against Zimbabwe’s largest telecoms firm, Econet, whose EcoCash service has gained significant traction since launch in 2011.

Gono said however that the economy has benefited immensely from the introduction of mobile banking services saying the customer base “has expanded appreciably”, providing greater access to products such as remittance transfers which may prompt increased use of banking services in Zimbabwe.

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The ideal situation, Gono said in the statement, is for mobile money transfer services to be “merely a payment system or delivery channel which does not amount to deposit taking.” This way, they would operate on “a credit push principle where all e-money value is backed by pre-funded balances which are held in banking institutions.”

Gono said yesterday that the RBZ will consult regulatory bodies and stakeholders on the matter and said that a memorandum of understanding between the RBZ and POTRAZ will be finalized by end of first quarter 2013.

Gono also said that one problem locally has been a “limited culture of sharing payment systems infrastructure” saying that as a regulatory body they encourage interoperatability and sharing of infrastructure. “Relationships between financial institutions and payment system providers should be complimentary rather than acrimonious,” he said. “Payment system providers including mobile network operators are implored to accommodate all banking institutions on their platforms”

You can download the Monetary Policy statement on the RBZ website, or here.


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9 thoughts on “Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to establish mobile money regulation

  1. Am sure Banks are being gleeful. From the tone, it does not sound like it will be so harsh that banks will get back into their comfort zones, sitting on their laurels and CHARGING people “interest-on-savings”. It is ok to have regulation in place, as long as it wont be at the expense of convenience or completely ruin the inroads made to the unbanked.

    It is all too true that Banks(and even the Telecoms/ICT industry) do not play well together when it comes to sharing of platforms/infrastructure. They hardly focus on symbiotic relationships that can have a positive impact on their returns as well as the services they can offer.

    The fact that the e/m-commerce service has reached the ears of regulators is good news. At a national level, hopefully they will start thinking about how to exploit and encourage this (old) new way of doing biz.

    Am glad to also hear their bank charges are now being regulated.

    Keywords for them are ecommerce, m-commerce

    NB Typo:

    Gono said yesterday

    1. I believe this shows great maturity indeed because only deliberate and decisive policy will bring sanity and direction towards a more integrated banking system that promotes fluid commerce at all levels of the economy.

    2. …just a cosmetic correction….you don’t charge interest on savings….instead you charge fees and sometimes pay interest on savings, though we all know its, at most, as paltry as 0.5% per annum!

      1. No need for correction. Point was, savings accounts in Zim do not have true benefits of savings accounts. It is as though you are charged interest on your savings(as though your savings are a loan). Bank charges literally wipe(d) out true interest one’s supposed to earn. Note the quotes

        1. It’s not only in Zim, its everywhere dude. Its pathetic. Infact if u r serious about “saving”, the last place u shld think is the bank! Ukatotenga mombe kumusha, after 3 years you will be better off! 🙂

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