Botswana’s government has introduced new regulations according to which telecommunication service providers must separate mobile financial payment services from other offerings.
The new regulations came into effect in January 2020 and in addition to placing the management of mobile money under the jurisdiction of the country’s central bank (the Bank of Botswana), it also compels telecommunication firms (including Mascom, Orange and BTC Mobile) to create companies dedicated to mobile money services.
Additionally, each of the mobile money subsidiaries must have a minimum capital of two million pulas (US$186,454) and comply with the country’s anti-money laundering legislation.
Moreover, there are now transaction limits in place. A single mobile money transaction cannot exceed 5,000 pulas (US$466.13). There is also a daily transaction limit of 10,000 pulas (US$932.27), while monthly transactions cannot exceed 20,000 pulas (US$1,864) per user.
Orange Money is the market leader in Botswana with about 752,000 customers. This is followed by MyZaka of Mascom with nearly 400,000 subscribers.
Finance experts described the decision of the government as inevitable considering similar practices in other markets and the growth of mobile money as a preferred method of sending and receiving money.
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In its state of the industry report on mobile money, GSMA said the mobile money industry is now processing over US$1.3-billion a day, and it added a record 143 million registered customers in 2018.
“Successful providers are now looking to strengthen their value proposition with a full suite of use cases that serve diverse customer needs. This shift towards a ‘payments as a platform’ approach is at the heart of the industry’s new direction,” GSMA stated.