File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Nairobi - Business and political leaders in Kenya and Rwanda on Thursday welcomed the launch of mobile money services between the two countries.

MTN Rwanda, the country’s leader in telecommunications, announced it had opened a corridor with Safaricom in Kenya that would see MTN Mobile Money and M-Pesa users sending and receiving money seamlessly and affordably between the neighbouring East African countries.

The Kenyan High Commissioner to Rwanda, John Mwangemi, said regional remittance was another important milestone towards the regional integration agenda.

“Launching this regional mobile transfer will go a long way in promoting trade within the East Africa region. We are committed to making it easy for our people to trade across our region and this innovative service is yet another step towards making East Africa a truly competitive market,” said Mwangemi.

Richard Kabonero, the Ugandan High Commissioner in Rwanda, also expressed his delight at the introduction of cross mobile money systems in the region. “Regional remittance will greatly reduce the cost of doing business across our borders as well as ease other challenges, including sending money to students in Uganda. It’s a welcome development which we hope will be implemented across the five East African Community partner states,” he said.

Dennis Karera, chairman of the East African Business Council, welcomed the East African drive to make doing business in the region as easy as possible.

“I laud MTN’s partnerships in enabling financial inclusion and providing access to basic mobile financial services across the region. An important enabler of doing business is money, and by providing time- and cost-efficient ways of transferring money, eases ways of doing business,” said Karera.

He called upon telecoms operators in the region that are not yet involved to get on board and help lower the cost of doing business.

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