NCBA to launch M-Shwari in Ghana, Ethiopia and DRC

NCBA Group is set to launch its mobile phone banking services M-Shwari in Ghana, Ethiopia and DRC through partnerships in efforts to grow further into a regional bank.

The group is in talks for partnerships with banks and telecoms operators in the three countries for mobile phone banking services.

This signals that the Kenyan bank will seek to earn commissions from the deals over setting up brick-and-mortar operations in Ghana, Ethiopia and DRC.

This comes after NCBA reaped huge rewards from pioneering mobile phone-based lending in Kenya, after teaming up with Safaricom in 2012 to launch the dominant service, M-Shwari.

“In new markets the model will be to work with local banking and mobile partners to deliver our products,” said NCBA Group chief executive John Gachora,

“The countries of interest for now remain Ghana, Ethiopia and DRC – these added to our current five would make it eight countries.”

NCBA has partnerships in the regions with other telecoms operators, including M-Pawa in Tanzania with Vodacom, Mokash in Uganda and Momokash (Ivory Coast) with MTN.

The bank says the partnerships will be a key plank in expansion of its digital lending business in the continent.

“As NCBA, we are looking to start seeing digital financial services as an export product beyond Kenya and into the region,” NCBA director of digital business Erick Muriuki said.

“The objective here, of course, is to ensure that we can diversify our revenues from beyond Kenya and be able to see that we are generating significantly more revenues from the digital business outside East Africa.”

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