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Africa uses mobile money to curb the spread of the coronavirus

Africa mobile money coronavirus
Safaricom removed all fees from its mobile-money platform, M-Pesa

Africa has adopted the widespread use of digital finance platforms such as mobile money to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the continent, the local media reported.

The widespread use of mobile money will stop the use of cash in Africa, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) flagged as a conduit for the spread of the coronavirus.

In Kenya, leading telecom operator Safaricom has waived all service fees related to its mobile money platform M-Pesa.

Earlier, Safaricom announced that all person-to-person (P2P) transactions under 1,000 Kenyan Schillings would be free for the next 90 days.

M-Pesa will also allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to increase their daily M-Pesa transaction limits from 70,000 Kenyan Schillings to 150,000.

The decision is based on the directive of the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. He asked the Kenyan central bank to explore ways of deepening mobile-money usage to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus through physical handling of cash.

Across Africa, other mobile money service providers have joined the initiative and waived off service fees and upped transaction limits in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus on physical currency.

Both the central banks of Ghana and Rwanda separately launched temporary measures to boost the usage of mobile money in their respective countries.

In a statement, Bank of Ghana said that it had agreed discounted rates and new limits with the country’s banks and mobile money operators. Rwanda, on the other hand, said that the removal of service fees on mobile money transactions with increased daily and monthly limits will differ based on the type of user.

In Uganda, MTN announced the removal of transaction fees below UGX30,000. Wallet-to-bank transactions are also set to be zero-rated to specific providers.


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