How telecoms firms are key in financial inclusion

Thursday April 11 2019

Tigo’s chief officer for financial services,

Tigo’s chief officer for financial services, Hussein Sayed. PHOTO|FILE 

Tanzania is increasingly becoming a cashless society. Gone are the days when people would queue to pay for their water, electricity and pay Tv bills. Tigo’s chief officer for financial services, Hussein Sayed, explains more in this interview. Read on:

Q. Analysis of statistics for telecommunication firms shows that operators are increasingly shifting their competition towards data and mobile money. Can you briefly tell us how the year 2018 was like for Tigo Pesa?

A. Our key focus has always been advancing financial inclusion. In 2018, we crossed the 7 million mark in number of subscribers. We have added around 800,000 in a record period.

This is also the year in which we launched a number of landmark partnerships with Global Players and World-Class brands such Uber and MasterCard. We launched a state-of-the-art payment solution with MasterCard using QR code where customers can scan a QR at our merchant and pay for products or services.

We also launched our Self Service solution called Self-Care through which Tigo Pesa customers are able to initiate reversals of wrongly done peer-to-peer transfers by themselves, hence protecting their money.

In your view, what is the future of a cashless Tanzania?


First, we highly support the Government agenda in increasing Financial Inclusion in Tanzania. Promoting Digital Payments comes on top of our priorities and we are taking all necessarily needed actions to support delivery of this objective.

Digital Financial transactions present an unlimited opportunity for everyone.

Tanzanians will be capable of accessing a long list of financial solutions that will help them to send money to the future (save), receive money from the future (credit), mitigating risk (insurance) and pay (remittance, bill pay, collections and international money transfer) through their mobile device.

The efforts taken to increase Financial Inclusion in Tanzania will lead to secure a prosperous future to the entire society, and we are proud to be one of the players contributing to achieving this objective.

You said one of the products initiated last year was the Tigo Pesa App. How has it been received in the market?

With the changing needs of our customers, our app is designed according to the World-Class measures of international applications.

We have seen a record increase in the number of transactions and the customers using the application.

Using the application allows customers to do all of their financial transactions in a faster and more convenient manner.

What role should mobile operators play in empowering businesses in Tanzania?

Supporting businesses is one of our key strategic pillars, and we glad to see a long list of major business players using our solutions in collections and disbursements. Businesses can use our solutions to collect payments from their suppliers and customers.

Also, they can disburse to anyone in Tanzania, directly to their wallets and regardless to the operator; a feature that’s only provided by Tigo Pesa.