The East African Community (EAC) countries have been praised for their success in mobile money services but should make serious efforts to harmonise the different legal frameworks that cover the industry in the region, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said.
UNCTAD has released a report titled Mobile Money for Business Development in the East Africa Community, which is a comparative study of existing mobile money platforms and regulation in the EAC countries, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The Report stated that Africa ‘is a world leader in offering mobile money services…with about 60 mobile money services already in place.’
However, the UN Report also urged the EAC countries to introduce and implement harmonised regulation which should focus on ‘consumer protection, registration and transasaction limits, regulatory collaboration and interoperability between operators.’
Harmonisation is desired ‘as mobile money grows bigger and draws in more sectors, and new regulators will have to join the fold.’ UNCTAD noted that ‘dialogue is largely happening at a national level, with Kenya often leading the way, owing to the success of M-Pesa and the fact they have somewhat longer experience than the other EAC countries0.’ UNCTAD called for the EAC to prepare guidelines on electronic transactions, e-signatures and authentication, data protection and privacy, consumer protection, and computer crime.