Regulating Mobile Money in Rwanda

Argent, Hanson and Gomez investigate the regulation of mobile money in Rwanda. The country has over 1.2 million registered users of mobile money (11.5% of the population) with nearly 800,000 transactions alone in October 2012. However, it is still small compared to the markets in other East African countries, particularly Kenya, where 67% of the population received transfers via mobile money in 2011.

The paper focuses on the role of regulation in mobile money and what Rwanda can learn from regional and international experience. It makes a series of conclusions, including:

1.Mobile money has many potential benefits, particularly for the low-income and rural population.
2.Interoperability is probably the most important regulatory issue currently being discussed.
3.New regulation in Rwanda requires interoperability of all payment systems within one year – a very demanding target.
4.In moving towards interoperability, the signals sent to the mobile network operators are important.
5.The quality of the agent network is broadly believed to be a key element in the success of mobile money services.

Outputs