Southern Africa mobile players tackle banking concerns

For the first time, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) mobile technology and banking industry leaders gathered this week to overcome security concerns about mobile phone transactions.

Governments and financial sector regulators in the SADC region are skeptical about mobile security and have in many cases refused to grant licenses for mobile transaction services.

But service providers and companies that provide mobile payment solutions meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, claimed this week that mobile phone transactions are the safest, fastest and efficient way of doing business.

It is the first time that industry leaders from Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia are working together to improve mobile transactions.

Celpay International CEO Lazarus Muchenje said at the industry meeting Wednesday that, with the continued boom in the cell phone market, the SADC region needs to prepare for a wave of opportunity. Celpay provides mobile payment applications for a broad range of users.

In the SADC region, as in many other areas of Africa, people have to travel long distances from rural areas and spend hours in queues to access bank services in urban areas and towns. Mobile phone transactions however, are designed to make it easy for anyone to send or receive money, pay for utility bills and school fees without having to open or own a bank account.