Traditionally, banks have operated using the brick and mortar branches. With the advent of mobile phones, the use of mobile phones to deliver financial services emerged and helped in reaching the financially excluded people, who due to their lack of financial resources, were not able to afford the formal financial services offered by the traditional banking services. The mobile money and the use of it have proven not only to be cheaper, but also to have far-reaching effects, which helped in reaching the financially marginalised people. Kenya, for instance, adopted the use of mobile money through its M-PESA services. It then became one of the success stories of ‘mobile money’ and ‘mobile banking’ in the world. Tanzania, like Kenya, adopted the use of ‘mobile money’ and ‘mobile banking’ services. As a result, in Tanzania mobile money has helped in fostering financial inclusion in a country where only the 17 percent of the adult population has access to formal financial services through the banks and licensed financial institutions. But how did mobile money develop in Tanzania? What political economy, policies and regulations have helped it to succeed? These are the two research questions that this paper tries to answer. The paper, therefore, investigates: (i) the development of mobile money; (ii) the sectoral and regulatory policies, as well as the political economy that helped the mobile money sector to succeed; and how mobile money has helped in transforming the banking sector.
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