Zain targets African mobile commerce

Zap service is now available in six countries, opening up mobile commerce services to about 150 million people.

Tags: Banking and financeMalawiMobile money transferNigerSierra LeoneZain - Kuwait
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Zain targets African mobile commerce Zain said it intends to introduce mobile commerce services across its coverage area. (Getty Images)
By  Roger Field Published  January 7, 2010

Kuwait-based mobile operator Zain has expanded its Zap mobile commerce service to Niger, Sierra Leone and Malawi, as it seeks to capitalise on a growing demand for services such as mobile remittances and transfers in Africa.

Zap, which allows subscribers to withdraw cash, pay for goods and services, and make money transfers to third parties,  was originally launched in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in February 2009, where more than 10 million people have already used the service.

The service is supported on all handsets, including the ultra low-end devices, and is available 24 hours a day, according to Zain.

"We already saw the impact Zap has made to the economies of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda," said Saad Al Barrak, Zain Group CEO.

"We are confident that we will see a similar impact in Malawi, Niger and Sierra Leone, where formal banking services are largely restricted to urban hubs. Together with our financial partners, we have ensured that Zap mobile commerce services meet all the required in-country banking regulations as stipulated by the respective central banks."

Zain works with a number of banks to offer the service, including National Bank of Malawi and NBS Bank in Malawi; EcoBank in Niger, and Zenith Bank in Sierra Leone.

Zap is part of Zain's ‘One Network' platform, allowing roaming customers to use the service in all six countries it is currently available in.

The service now covers 150 million people across six countries, and Zain plans to roll out further mobile commerce services across all of its coverage area in the Middle East and Africa subject to regulatory approvals.

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