Innovative partnership will use mobile phones to bring full-service banking to savings groups in Tanzania for the first time
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (September 25, 2012) – The global poverty fighting organization CARE, Mwanga Community Bank and Vodacom Tanzania have launched a program that will connect remote community savings groups in Mwanga, Tanzania to banks using mobile phones. This innovative partnership is only the second-of-its-kind anywhere in the world. The first was launched in March by CARE and partners in Kenya.
CARE savings groups, known as Village Savings & Loan Associations (or VSLAs), will be able to open an account with Mwanga Community Bank and deposit cash into interest-bearing group savings accounts without visiting a physical branch. This is made possible through an agreement linking Vodacom’s M-PESA mobile finance network with Mwanga Community Bank.
To ensure account security, CARE, Mwanga Community Bank and Vodacom developed a security verification system that requires three VSLA members to provide PINs for every transaction; the electronic equivalent of the three-padlock VSLA metal lock box that prevents any one person from accessing the group’s cash. Although individuals have accessed bank accounts with mobile phones before, this is the first system that allows groups the same type of secure mobile access. CARE VSLAs will be able to make cash deposits and withdrawals with Vodacom M-PESA agents near their homes as well as at Mwanga Community Bank.
“CARE, Mwanga Community Bank and Vodacom have pioneered a new way to offer convenient and affordable retail financial services to previously un-served people in Tanzania,” said Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE. “There is an enormous demand for financial services across the continent, and we’re fortunate that both partners share a deep commitment to designing products and services that will reach people in the poorest, most remote communities.”
One hundred CARE VSLAs in Mwanga and Moshi districts will participate in the early, pilot stage of the program. Participants in the mobile banking program will receive special training to how to operate the M-PESA system and understand the financial products offered by the bank.
In Tanzania alone, CARE has helped more than 460,000 people build VSLAs in their communities. VSLAs are typically built by women living on less than $2.00 a day. CARE provides each VSLA with one-year of intensive group-based saving and lending training. At weekly meetings, members make deposits to the group’s savings lock box, as well as small loans to each other to start small businesses, pay school fees or meet household needs. Loans are repaid with interest which, in turn, is passed on to group members as earned interest on their deposits. VSLAs that express interest in linking to Mwanga Community Bank are assessed by CARE for their readiness, and receive financial literacy training to ensure they have the skills and knowledge needed to interact with a formal bank.
About CARE: CARE brings financial services to more people in Africa than any other international non-governmental organization. Through its unique savings-led approach, CARE’s Access Africa program has reached more than 2.5 million people in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s emergency relief efforts because our experience shows that their gains translate into benefits for families and communities. Essential to CARE’s lifesaving humanitarian work is our commitment to help rebuild safer, stronger places that people call home. Our programs to improve health and education, promote social justice and open up economic opportunities make communities more resilient and less vulnerable to the forces that cause emergencies. Last year CARE worked in 84 countries and reached 122 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
About Mwanga Community Bank: Mwanga Community Bank Limited popularly known as “BenkiyaWananchiMwanga” opened its doors to the public 12 years ago after obtained its license from Bank of Tanzania as a Regional Unit Financial Institution in year 2000. In 2009 MCB obtained a Regional Bank license from BOT which allow the bank to operate throughout Kilimanjaro Region. The bank is a public limited company whose shareholders are individuals from every village of Mwanga District, people originating from Mwanga and other places living in Dar es salaam, Arusha, Dodoma, Tanga and Moshi, Institutions and Non Government Organizations like TGT, Mwanga Pare Community Development Trust Fund, Mwanga District Council etc. There is no majority shareholder. For the last seven years, the bank has registered tremendous success in terms of growth both in business volume and profitability. Since 2005, the bank has been paying dividends to its shareholders. For more information, please visit www.mwangabank.co.tz.
About Vodacom M-PESA: The Vodacom M-PESA service (referred to as M-PESA) is an electronic money (e-money) solution provided by Vodacom Tanzania, it’s a money transfer system for facilitating the transfer of e-money from one M-PESA account to another and the receiver of the e-money value would cash-out their e-money at any of our over 30,000 M-PESA agents currently existing throughout Tanzania. Organizations with M-PESA business accounts have additional options of instructing the cash amount collected from their clients be deposited to individual bank account of their choice.
The M-PESA solution supports person to person money transfers (sending money home for example), customer to business transfers (payment for services rendered, school fees, purchases) and business to customer transfers (for cash dispersals, allowance payments, salariesetc). To mention few examples, micro finance institutions (e.g.,Tujijenge Tanzania) can now dispersing and collect loans via M-PESA, CRDB bank pays dividends to its shareholders via M-PESA etc.
To date M-PESA has over 10 million registered subscribers, the customers (both individuals and businesses) can now enjoy the benefit of being able to send and receive money securely through-out Tanzania. The engagement with MCBL and CARE is part of continuous efforts with partners to enable the rural communities use M-PESA and improve rural financial inclusion.
Atlanta: Andisheh Nouraee, CARE, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1.404.979.9266
Dar es Salaam: Lauren Hendricks, CARE, email@example.com, +255.84.348474