East African countries should work together on establishing financial and telecommunications regulations that cover the region's hugely popular mobile money schemes, says a United Nations report.
Led by Kenya's M-Pesa, East Africa has pioneered mobile money, with countries such as Uganda and Tanzania taking advantage of the high level of handset ownership to bring financial services to the unbanked.
The UN Conference on trade and Development (UNCTAD) report says that this rapid growth in the region has outpaced the regulatory framework and there is now an urgent need to address the issue.
If mobile money is to continue to flourish, it will require heightened co-ordination and co-operation across various regulatory and market sectors, such as telecommunications, banking and electronic commerce.
Building consumer confidence and trust in the systems is essential, the report says, meaning that steps are needed to address concerns related to protection, registration and transaction limits, regulatory collaboration and interoperability.
This is best done at the regional level, by East African Community members Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, argues UNCTAD, so that intraregional use of the technology can be expanded - a step that could boost regional economic growth.
You can read details of the recommendations in the report here:Download the document now 1.7 mb (PDF File)