Mobile money conference to be held next week


ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira

THE second edition of the annual mobile money conference and awards will be held on July 28 at Meikles Hotel in Harare.The conference to be held under the theme “Enhancing Risk in Mobile Money Management and Branchless Banking Ecosystem.” will bring together regulators, telecommunication companies, and ICT service providers who will focus on opportunities, challenges and threats in the sector. Discussions will centre on progress made to make local systems interoperable, the role of near field communication to champion new innovation, the value of agent banking and mobile money in enhancing financial inclusion, and role of mobile money and digital payments in solving the ongoing cash crunch.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and banks are pushing for increased use of electronic payment systems.

The conference, which convenes at a time the economy is having cash and international payments settlement challenges, will explore the sustainability of the current settlement and payments channels in light of the existing challenges.

The reluctance of mobile companies to open their systems to competitors has been making it difficult to seamlessly transfer mobile money from account to account (A2A).

Some of the panellists expected at the conference include ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira, Barclays Bank Zimbabwe managing director George Guvamatanga, Potraz director , Hilda Mutseyikwa, Brian Mutandiro, NetOne’s managing director and Stewart Bank’s chief executive officer Lance Mambondiani,.

Conference organisers Oxlink Capital said the convergence and interdependence of banking and telecoms makes it imperative to have a platform to share ideas, experiences and motivation.

The advent of mobile money has heralded a new era for financial services.

Oxlink Capital chief executive officer Brains Muchemwa

Oxlink Capital chief executive officer Brains Muchemwa

The national payments system, which largely captures electronic payments in the formal sector, processes an average of US$1,1 billion transactions weekly in Zimbabwe, with the RTGS platform pushing around 80 percent of these transactions. The remainder is shared among ATMs, Mobile Money and Point of Sale channels.

Oxlink Capital said considering the opaqueness of the informal sector and the varying estimates of cash circulating in economy, the policy headache is now on how to shift mindsets and investment in infrastructure to provide enabling platforms and confidence for the transacting public to switch more towards Point of Sale and Mobile Money platforms.

“The conference will therefore debate on the current cash challenges and the extent to which alternative electronic platforms and public confidence can be further worked to improve usage of electronic platforms and ease pressure on cash demand,” said Oxlink Capital.

On the back of heated debate and policy directives being given with regards the interoperability of the Mobile Networks to ensure seamless efficiency to the general consumers, the Conference will take stock of progress made to date on that respect and hopefully will provide insights into the expected convergence of the sector towards a fully interoperable market.

“The 2015 edition of the conference drew 287 delegates and we expect this year’s conference to draw around the same numbers of policy makers, industry leaders and opinion leaders to debate on this very exciting and growing industry,” said Oxlink Capital.

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