Tunisia – Mobile Payment: The Three Telephone Companies Committed to Financial Inclusion

Encouraging the development of financial services and digital distribution channels are the main pillars of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (SNIF).

This strategy aims to improve product offering, new distribution channels and meet the financial needs of the population, especially the underprivileged and the unbanked.

In this sense, mobile payment (mobile payment) constitutes an undeniable accelerator of financial inclusion and offers great possibilities of financial integration for consumers and economic players.

In India or Africa (example from Kenya with MPESA), mobile financial services have experienced significant expansion through the rapid growth of the mobile payment industry.

Thanks to mobile payments, the most disadvantaged sections of the population have benefited from access to cheap financial services, both nationally and across borders.

However, providing this kind of service is not an easy task. Indeed, a great deal of work, primarily legislative and regulatory, needs to be followed to enable companies, particularly in the world of banking and financial technology, to offer mobile payment services to enhance not only financial inclusion, but also national financial integration. border.

In this sense in Tunisia, the Central Bank of Tunisia did not finish until December 31, 2018 by issuing Circular No. 16 of 2018 relating to the rules regulating activity, after enormous work on a set of legal texts. and operating payment institutions.

In the same vein, on March 6, 2019, the Professional Association of Banks signed a framework contract with the Moroccan company HPS to implement a mobile payment solution.

What about today, almost 3 years later? no thing !

It was not until the Central Bank of Tunisia finally gave the green light on May 4, 2022 for the three operators Tunisia Telecom, Ooredoo Tunisia and Orange Tunisia to set up a mobile payment institution.

A project that dates back not to today but from several months or even several years ago with Mohamed Fadel Karim who was baptized by fundamentalists as a strategist for digital transformation in Tunisia.

Indeed, both through the various states combined at the head of Tunisian Telecom but also as Minister of Communication Technology and Digital Transformation in the Government and Acting Minister of Transport and Logistics, Mohamed Fadel Karim has been distinguished by his strong conviction that the revival of Tunisia is essential. It involves the success of digital projects that many ministers before and even after him have deliberately neglected due to the enormity of the task.

It is clear that we are talking about projects for integrated communication management with digital services and above all citizen-centric, but also in the field of financial technology and electronic payments.

With his expertise in telecom and digital, Mohamed Fadel Karim, has supported memory, interbank mobile payment system imperative (IMPS), and deployed Real-time Gross Settlement Systems (RTGS) equipped with a mobile payment service switching center but also advocated On the critical role of telephone operators as full players in mobile payment and financial inclusion.

As a reminder, since February 2021, Etisalat Tunisie, Ooredoo Tunisie and Orange Tunisie have submitted an application to establish a joint payment institution with the Central Bank of Tunisia.

After the approval granted by the Central Bank of Tunisia, it is finally possible today for operators to set foot in mobile banking by launching their own entity.

As financial institutions under Law 2016-48, this entity, equally owned by the 03 operators, will have the task of launching new mobile financial services for the primarily unbanked population.

This is a huge step towards financial inclusion.

We hope that this news will announce the real awakening of the Ministry of Technologies to work actively in order to unite activities or innovation and above all to meet challenges and support progress.

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