Zap Spreads Wings West and South

Posted on January 8, 2010

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The mobile money transfer concept is now being replicated in other African markets following a high rate of success in East Africa and particularly Kenya.

Zain announced the expansion of its mobile commerce service Zap to Niger, Sierra Leone and a full commercial pilot project in Malawi.

This will bring to six the number of African markets covered by the service with a combined population of 150 million people. The service was launched in February last year in the East African market— Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Zain said more than 10 million people have already used the service to date.

The concept, which is being replicated in other parts of world, will compliment the financial services sector in the continent.

Advanced services

The firm said mobile financial platforms would allow many of them access to advanced financial services through their mobile phones for the first time in these markets.

In Kenya, both Zap and Safaricom’s M-Pesa have made inroads attracting users from all economic segments and particularly those ignored by the mainstream financial services infrastructure in both rural and urban areas.

“The expansion of our service to Malawi, Niger and Sierra Leone is an important step in pushing the boundaries of mobile communications,” said Saad Al Barrak Zain Group chief executive.

He added that the company would build on the achievements that mobile money transfer services have had in East Africa.

“We have recorded the impact Zap has made in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. We are confident of a similar impact in Malawi, Niger and Sierra Leone, where formal banking services are largely restricted to urban hubs,” said Barrak.

The services are expected to compliment the financial services sector in the three countries as mobile phone users will be able to send and receive money, pay for services as well as interact with their bank accounts using the service.

Zain has partnered with the National Bank of Malawi (NBM) and NBS Banks in Malawi, EcoBank in Niger and Zenith Bank in Sierra Leone. It works with Citibank and Standard Chartered in East Africa.

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