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IAMTN Weekly Update


IAMTN Weekly Update

In addition to some news items on developments in the mobile payments and micro-finance area we are also including an item that will appear in the next members magazine which brings you an update on some the things that we have planned for 2009.

IAMTN – the future

As we approach 2009 it seems appropriate to look at what we at IAMTN will be doing to help all of our members during the course of the coming year.
2009 is going to be a busy twelve months for the money transfer industry, with among many other events the following having a major impact:
• On a global basis we clearly have the impact of the current economic crisis to deal with. Whilst no one knows for sure what the full effect will be, the World Bank (who presented at the London Conference) have estimated that there will be a slight decline in the amount of money transferred globally by around 0.9% (or at worst 6%). Clearly it will be a challenging year and companies will focus on areas that maximise revenue and minimise costs.
• In Europe the Payment Services Directive (PSD) will be with us in November. All businesses will have to undertake a significant amount of review work and planning to be ready and hopefully most of you have already begun this process. All organisations need to be aware that, regardless of what they decide to do in respect of becoming an authorised or registered payment institution, they will need to comply with the conduct of business rules on 1st November 2009.
• Businesses are going to look even more closely at new technologies. 2009 will be a year when the activity in this area increases as firms look to confirm their role in the value chain with the aim of reducing costs and developing new opportunities.

IAMTN (which as many of you know is a not-for-profit organisation) will offer a number of services next year that we believe will help all of our members. These include:
• Providing information services for members –
- A weekly news round-up on information in the public domain, e.g. publicly available financial results, repository for industry information, etc
- A monthly magazine which contains more detailed information behind key stories and trends
- ‘Everything you wanted to know’ pieces about aspects of the industry, e.g. how pre-paid cards work
- Research projects
- Web conferences and web logs (blogs)
• Providing thought leadership activities and fostering an environment for debate and development
• Representing the views of members and interaction with regulators
• Organising 4 conferences during the course of the year in Dubai, Moscow, Singapore and London
• Establishing a dialogue with organisations that are also interested in the remittances space, e.g. GSMA, Prepaid Card Forum, Moby Forum etc
• Offering advisory and introductory services
• Developing a 2020 vision for the money transfer industry

Whilst we know that these activities are welcomed by our members we also want to find out what you would like from IAMTN. In order to achieve this, we are going to be conducting a short survey to find out what you want so that we can provide it for you.

Finally, for IAMTN to be as effective as possible we would like to represent as many industry participants as possible. I would therefore encourage those of you who are not members to talk to Charlotte Giles. As those of you who have met Charlotte will know she is very approachable, knowledgeable and keen to hear from you.

I wish everyone a prosperous and successful 2009 and look forward to meeting many of you throughout the year.

Best wishes


Leon Isaacs
Managing Director


Vodafone, Safaricom and Western Union pilot cross-border mobile money transfer

Wireless operators Vodafone and Safaricom are looking to build on the success of their M-Pesa mobile money transfer service by partnering with Western Union to pilot a phone-based remittance service between the UK and Kenya.

Vodafone teamed with Safaricom - in which it has a minority stake - in March 2007 to launch the internal mobile money transfer service M-Pesa, which has already attracted over four million customers.
Using Western Union’s processing hub, they now plan to build on the M-Pesa success by introducing cross-border mobile remittances.
During the pilot, participants will be able to send money through Western Union agents in the UK town of Reading to any Safaricom mobile subscriber in Kenya. Recipients can then visit one of 4,-000 M-Pesa agents in Kenya to withdraw their cash, or forward it on to another mobile phone in the country.
The World Bank estimates that Kenya received around $1.3 billion in international remittances last year.
IAMTN comment: ‘There has been a lot of interest and coverage of the M-Pesa programme globally so far. This is partially due to the fact that the take-up has been so large and partially because there are very few other similar examples. M-Pesa is a domestic transfer service and there has been much discussion about the implications for cross border transactions. The tie-up with Western Union for a pilot is a logical next step and shows that mobile phone companies will look to partnerships with money transfer businesses to ensure they succeed with international remittances. Whether this is instead of or as well as using their own networks remains to be seen’. Leon Isaacs


Orange and BNP Paribas team on Ivory Coast mobile money transfer service

Mobile operator Orange has teamed with BNP Paribas to launch West Africa’s first mobile payments and money transfer service in the Ivory Coast.

Customers can use their handsets to deposit and withdraw up to CFA Fr100,000 (around EUR150) to or from their account, transfer money, pay bills and buy call credit for up to CFA Fr10,000.

Orange wireless users can activate an account free of charge and without a minimum deposit.

BNP Paribas, through its Ivory Coast subsidiary BICICI issues and guarantees the electronic money.

Orange says the system guarantees transactions against the risk of theft or fraud and is fully compliant with West African Economic and Monetary Union regulations. All transactions are guaranteed for senders and recipients.

For its release and marketing, the service will draw on rural and urban distribution networks through Orange, BICICI and Belkofinance.

Ivory Coast is the first of several countries slated to roll out the service over the next few months, he added.

IAMTN comment: ‘Although this is a domestic transfer service for now it will be fascinating to see the take up in West Africa and whether the market conditions lead to as fast a growth as the M-Pesa service or perhaps even faster. If regulatory conditions allow it would be an easy extension to see this type of solution being used for cross-border transactions within the WAMU region’. Leon Isaacs


Telenor acquires major stake in TMB

Telenor Pakistan has entered into an agreement to acquire 51 per cent of the shares in Tameer Microfinance Bank (TMB) for a foreign direct investment (FDI) of USD 12.5 million

“The acquisition of 51 per cent of the shares in Tameer Microfinance Bank (TMB) is part of our strategy to offer financial services in Pakistan,” said Jon Eddy Abdullah, CEO of Telenor Pakistan. “We are pleased with the deal we have entered. Telenor is a solid partner for further growth, and we have a common view about how financial and telecommunication sectors together can improve customer offerings by combining services,” said Nadeem Hussain, President and Chief Executive Officer Tameer Bank. Telenor Pakistan is a 100% subsidiary of Telenor Group (which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange) and a mobile operator in Pakistan with more than 18 million subscribers. Telenor Pakistan has 2500 employees.

Tameer Bank, a fast growing microfinance bank licensed by State Bank of Pakistan in August 2005, has a current network of 27 on-line branches and 23 sales & service centers across Sindh and Punjab. It has given a new complexion to the microfinance sector through the induction of innovative, technology-driven financial services.


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