DRC: Mobile banking services officially launched
Mobile banking services were officially launched in the Democratic Republic of Congo on March 20th.Mobile operator Airtel is the first company to receive the backing of the Central Bank (BCC) to operate its service on the national territory, offering Congolese access to money transfers and bills, services and goods payments.
Jean-Claude Masangu Mulongo, BCC Governor, told Le Potentiel newspaper that mobile banking "will significantly raise the level access to banking services in the country".
He believes that this new technology will increase the number of bank accounts to 15 million within two years, which is ten times more than today, while the access to banking services rate will increase to 22 percent. It is currently only one percent, according to figures from the BCC.
This new service would therefore widen access to banking services for the whole population, even in isolated rural areas, as long as they have mobile coverage.
Another benefit of mobile banking, Mr Masangu Mulongo added, lies in the reduction of cash transactions.
The introduction of a regulatory framework and the signing of an agreement regarding the regulation of electronic money activity in DRC in November 2011 have made the arrival of mobile banking services possible, Le Phare newspaper reports.
Michel Losembe, President of the Congolese Bank Union, told L'Observateur newspaper that mobile banking services will revolutionise the financial sector. He said: "There are, for a population of 60 million inhabitants, around only 600,000 bank accounts. However, six million Congolese own a mobile phone."