Tanzania is witnessing a digital transformation. More people now connect to digital services in various sectors, including healthcare, finance, commerce, education, etc. The digital transformation in Tanzania is reflected by the rapid rise in the number of people connected to mobile services.
Mobile technology today connects more than 47 million people to various digital initiatives launched by the Tanzanian government. Mobile services play a critical role in providing access to payment wallets, online loans, insurance, e-commerce and more.
“We can no longer overlook the critical role the mobile industry plays in our economy. Such a direct and affordable channel before has never existed, and mobile phones are now held as critical enablers to eradicating poverty in all its forms and achieving the sustainable development agenda.”
Samia Suluhu, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, at the GSMA Mobile 360 Africa Conference in Dar es Salaam, July 2017.
Today, mobile technology is significantly contributing to the Tanzanian government’s development goals. Here, we aim to highlight three crucial contributions the mobile sector makes to realize the transformational goals.
Access to essential services
The Tanzanian government has launched various initiatives, including the Five Year Plan in 2016 and the long-term Tanzania Development Vision 2025. Through these initiatives, the government focuses on realizing targets related to poverty reduction, better healthcare facilities, better education, and citizens’ wellbeing.
Mobile technology provided access to these key services for millions of people across the country. It provided a fast and reliable way to connect the people to the services, covering a broader area in lesser time. Mobile network operators (MNOs), including Vodafone and Airtel, launched SMS services to improve medical and education services, especially in rural areas. Some of the popular programs launched by MNOs are Vodafone Moyo, Tigo e-Schools and Airtel Millenium Village Project.
Read more: Tanzania moving toward a cashless economy
Even though banking and mobile money services have completely changed how Africans make payments, a significant chunk of the population still depends on cash for payments and other financial services. According to the Bank of Tanzania and FSDT’ report, 10.6 million people in Tanzania access financial services informally. They make financial groups, popularly called SACCOs, to keep savings and avail loan and credit facilities.
Mobile technologies like USSD played a crucial role in bringing the informal sector to a semi-formal way of finance. Today, many startups are working to boost financial inclusion with innovative products and services. These services rely on mobile technologies to connect more users and foster financial inclusion.
Wakandi is one of the companies that aim to accelerate digital transformation and boost financial inclusion. We have launched a Credit Association Management System (CAMS), a digital system for SACCOs to make their operations faster, safer, and more efficient.
With CAMS, users can manage loans and savings digitally. Users can send their contributions and avail loans online through their preferred mobile wallet.
Tanzania is amongst the most advanced mobile money markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. This creates a myriad of opportunities for banks, businesses, and fintechs worldwide to launch new services. Over the years, payment providers like Visa and Mastercard have partnered with MNOs, banks and fintechs in Tanzania to provide payment solutions across the country.
Mobile services make the pathway for these innovative services to reach people in Tanzania. They also make a convenient option for startups to deliver their services for most users, especially in underserved areas.