Tigo, a subsidiary of the international telecommunications and media company Millicom (Stockholmsbörsen: MIC) has today announced the launch of a pioneering cross-border Mobile Money remittance service between Tanzania and Rwanda.
The service was launched simultaneously in Kigali and Dar-es-Salaam in the presence of Rwandan High Commissioner in Tanzania Dr Ben Rugangazi, High Commissioner of Tanzania in Rwanda HE Francis Mwaipaja and Rwanda Finance Minister Honourable Claver who undertook the first mobile money transactions between the two countries.
The new service allows Tigo subscribers in Tanzania to send money from their Tigo Pesa accounts to Tigo Cash subscribers in Rwanda and vice versa. The system integrates currency conversion, whereby money is sent in either Tanzania Shillings or Rwandan Francs and delivered already converted into in the currency of the recipient’s country.
This, according to Tigo Tanzania General Manager Diego Gutierrez, is the first product of its kind in the world that allows dual currency international mobile wallet to mobile wallet transfers with currency conversion included.
Once the remittance is received, customers can use the funds to access all the services and benefits that Tigo Mobile Financial Services offer. These include airtime top ups, payments for water, electricity, TV and transportation, transfers to bank accounts, cash withdrawals at any Tigo agent across the country, and convenient transfers to other mobile money users.
To send money from Tigo Pesa (Tanzania) to Tigo Cash (Rwanda) users, customers should dial *150*90# while those in Rwanda remitting to Tanzania should dial *200*7#. This service can be used from any Tigo mobile phone. Customers in their respective countries will receive their money immediately in their routine currency.
To register for Tigo Pesa or Tigo Cash, customers can visit any agent in Tanzania or Rwanda respectively. Registration is free of charge; customers only need to present their ID.
According to Gutierrez, “This new product will save customers’ time and money. International senders currently have to go to a money changer to exchange Rwanda Francs to dollars and then bring those dollars to remittance companies to send. They can now send money directly from their phone.”
Mr Gutierrez continued: “We are delighted to give our customers the possibilities to make payments to fellow East Africans. Thanks to a stable and state-of-the-art technology, users in Rwanda are able to send money to their families, friends and to their business partners across the border alike.”
Tongai Maramba, the General Manager of Tigo Rwanda said: “We are pleased to offer Tigo Cash customers the ability to send and receive international transfers directly via their phones. It is an added convenience that they can receive directly as Rwandan Francs because the traditional money transfer companies mostly deliver only dollars. This product enables consumers not to worry about exchanging money.”
Murenzi Abdallah, a transporter working with a Kigali based transport and logistics company on the route Dar-es-Salaam-Kigali-Goma expressed: “I am excited about the opportunity to receive money directly on my mobile while in Tanzania. My life will be a lot easier in terms of making different tax payments at border posts and other needs on my long and difficult journeys.”
Millicom offers Mobile Financial Services in Tanzania, Ghana, Rwanda, DRC, Chad, Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Senegal and Paraguay and will extend its offering to more services and into more markets over time.
The new service will particularly benefit the businesses with cross-border trade, diaspora families, truck drivers, importers and exporters from both countries. Tanzania is Rwanda’s second most important trading partner. In 2013, Rwanda imports from Tanzania amounted to 80,883,702 US dollars while Tanzania received imports valued at 231,695,265 US dollars from Rwanda the same year.