Kenyan MPs are currently considering separating the telecoms and banking activities of mobile operators in a concern, he says, for transparency and fairness in the market. The parliamentary committees on ICTs and Finance have been tasked by Senate Vice-President Kithure Kindiki to review the laws governing financial services to determine the extent to which they should be subject to comprehensive regulation. Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
The question around the separation of the telecom and financial activities of telecom companies has always provoked a passionate debate between players in the banking and telecommunications sectors. While the former believe that telecom operators are unfairly competing with them by already investing in their sector of activity and also offering financial services at below-regulatory costs, the latter still claim to be at the origin the significant increase in the rate of financial inclusion across the country and require to be placed in a special regime, given the basic support of their activity which remains mobile.
Kenya’s telecom operators are not the only ones in Africa to face this pressure from the banking sector for tighter regulation of their mobile finance business. In Burundi, in 2017, the Central Bank asked operators Lumitel, Econet and Smart to create autonomous companies that will operate their financial services. In 2015, Tanzania had already made this separation through its National Payment Systems Act and the Electronic Transactions Act.