Inaugural speech delivered by Dr. Mwigulu Lameck Nchemba (MP), Minister of Finance and Planning of the Republic of Tanzania

30 June 2022

AfPI Leaders’ Roundtable – Inaugural speech by Dr. Mwigulu Lameck Nchemba (MP), Minister of Finance and Planning of the Republic of Tanzania

Arusha, 23 June, 2022

Hon. John Vianney Mongella, Regional Commissioner – Arusha;

Prof. Florens D.A.M Luoga, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania;

Dr. Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI);

Permanent Secretaries; Governors and Deputy Governors of the Central Banks;

Commissioner for Financial Sector Development;

Members of AFI network;

Heads of Financial Sector Regulatory Authorities and Associations;

Distinguished Representatives of Women Affairs Committee for Financial Inclusion (Tanzania);

Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

Good morning!!

It is an honour and a great pleasure to be here today to officiate the opening of the 10th African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative Leaders’ Roundtable in Tanzania. I sincerely thank Prof. Florens Luoga, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania and Dr. Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of Alliance for Financial Inclusion and their teams for organizing this meeting.

I feel greatly honoured and privileged to be associated with the leaders’ roundtable whose theme is “Africa’s leadership on inclusive finance through digitization for stability and growth”, I find it pertinent.

Governors and Distinguished Guests; I congratulate you all for a consistent arrangement of the meeting every year to discuss issues of financial inclusion in Africa. Indeed, this regional initiative is very important in development of the financial sector, as it supports and develops financial inclusion policies, regulatory frameworks, and promotes innovative and customer-centric financial products in Africa.  

I have been told that, on Tuesday there was a training on Regulatory and Supervisory Technologies, while yesterday there were technical level dialogues on Digital Currencies and Consumers Protection in Digital Financial Services. Further, I have been informed that today you will have time to discuss not only how Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) can be a tool to drive financial inclusion in Africa but also how public-private collaboration can foster digitization in Africa to advance financial inclusion. This is commendable.

Governors, Deputy Governors, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen; It is an open fact that the financial sector holds a special place of influence in the growth and development of economies, hence inclusive financial sector means inclusive development and less poverty. It is for this reason that all governments in the world attach high importance to the financial sector. In Tanzania, we have been taking policy interventions and measures to promote financial inclusion. For instance, we developed the first and the second National Financial Inclusion Frameworks (2014–2016 and 2018- 2022), National Financial Education Framework (2016-2020), Financial Education Program (2021/22 – 2025/26) and recently Financial Sector Development Master plan (2020/21–2029/30). All these have been instrumental in promoting the use of technology and consumer protection, thus reducing financial exclusion and increasing access and usage of formal financial services in the country.

In addition, we have formulated National Microfinance Policy 2017 and enacted National Microfinance Act 2018. These have been instrumental in monitoring the microfinance sector, which serves a huge number of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs, who are majority in the population.

Governors, Deputy Governors, Ladies and Gentlemen; As you will be discussing on the theme “Africa’s leadership on inclusive finance through digitization for stability and growth”, Tanzania has a lot to tell on the importance of digitization technologies in promoting financial inclusion and economic development. However, to save time for your discussion let me share a little bit on mobile money aspect.

In 2006, Tanzania conducted its first Finscope survey in which only 46 percent of adult population were financially included, whereby only 11 percent were using formal financial services. The main reasons for exclusion were huge geographical area with poor connectivity in rural areas and expensive provision of banking services using brick-and-mortar branch network.

In order to address these challenges, the Government opted to create enabling environment that would encourage digitization of financial services. It also allowed non-banks (Telecoms) to offer payment services. Consequently, in early 2008, the fintech company, E-Fulusi, launched the first mobile wallet in Tanzania, MobiPawa, shortly followed by the launch of M-Pesa by Vodacom in April 2008. Two years later, three other major MNOs launched their own mobile financial services: Z-Pesa (Zantel), Airtel Money (Airtel), Tigo Pesa (Tigo) and later T-Pesa (TTCL).

Introduction of these mobile financial services, coupled with agent banking and mobile banking, widened access of financial services in the country including rural areas, and lowered financial transaction cost, hence reducing the numbers of adult population who are excluded from the financial sector. This is evidenced by the results of Finscope surveys conducted in 2013 and 2017, whereby the proportion of financially included people for formal financial services was 57 percent and 65 percent, respectively.

Ladies and Gentlemen; It is worth noting that, out of the up-takers of formal financial services identified through Finscope 2017, 48.6 percent were on-boarded through mobile money. In 2021, the value of mobile money transaction to total GDP increased to 66 percent from 40 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, the number of mobile money subscribers was 35.3 million in December 2021, equivalent to 61 percent of the total population in Tanzania.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen; Having shared the experience from Tanzania, it is my hope that in your today’s discussion you will share ideas on how you will make the financial sector in Africa more digital to the extent that we move to the less cash society if not cashless society. This will not only promote financial inclusion and economic development but also help to curb corruption, illicit financial flows, increase transparency and improve government revenue collection. With digitized financial services, one is no longer required to stand in a long queue, wasting time waiting for his/her turn to pay for electricity or water bills, government payments, withdrawing cash on bank counters and so on.

Governors, Deputy Governors, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen; It is my sincere hope that you will find time to share experiences and perceptions on the subject matter. It is my hope that, after today’s deliberations, everyone will gain something for promoting digitization of financial sector when you go back to your countries.

I once again welcome you in Tanzania and I urge you not to make this be your last visit to our beloved country Tanzania. Apart from having attractive tourist destinations such as Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro crater and pristine and exotic beaches in Zanzibar and Mafia, Tanzania is also a strategic country for investment. It is endowed with plenty of resources including mines, fertile land and plenty water bodies for agriculture as well as strategic areas for industries. Please take time to explore our investment opportunities and do not hesitate to finance investors from your countries when they plan to invest in Tanzania. We are ready to give them full support and cooperation through our dedicated authority Tanzania Investment Centre as well as through our respective ministries.

 

After these few words, I now have the pleasure to declare that the 10th African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative Leaders’ Roundtable is officially open. I wish you fruitful deliberations. Please know that we are waiting for the outcomes of this meeting with great anticipation. Good luck!

Thank you for your kind attention.

Ahsanteni sana!!


© Alliance for Financial Inclusion 2009-2022