Mpesa-like mobile money service for Botswana soon

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Batswana will soon have the convenience of a mobile money service in the mould of the highly succesful Mpesa of Kenya, in a not so distant future, this according to the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited Managing Director Paul Taylor. Taylor was answering questions from biztechafrica on the possibility of a home grown mobile money service meant for Batswana. With just about seven days before the much touted Initial Public Offering comes to an end, BTCL will be hard pressed to forge another business line to appeal to Batswana.

“We are going through a review process and Mpesa is one of the options. We have also looked at other options but in this instance, I can not say who we have been benchmarking with. In the next month we will definitely have that on the ground,” explained Taylor.

He added that their partnership with Vodaphone has also spurred the move to go the Mpesa route for the Botswana market. “Although there are a couple of other options that we are evaluating, we might chose the Mpesa option due to the Vodafone partnership that we have on the ground.” He continued that they ghave been taking their time to employ such a business service till the advent of the “Vodafone presence which will give us substantial support.” 

In order to effectively roll out the mobile money service to Batswana, Taylor said they will have to work closely with other strategic stakeholders like MTN, Mascom, Orange and one of their own Be-Mobile. Mpesa is believed to be contributing about 30% of Kenya’s GDP annually.

Meanwhile, Vodaphone is the BTCL strategic technical partner. “This is a non-equity partnership agreement that sees mutual support for such aspects as procurement, access to inbound and outbound roaming footprint, opportunities for staff secondment to grow employees of BTCL and access to intellectual capital, research material, best practice and strategy,” Taylor confirmed.

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