, KWALE, Kenya, Apr 1 – Citizens of the East African Community will by the end of this year be able to transfer money via mobile phones across borders if full implementation of the One Area Network Agreement (OANA) succeeds.
According to Information, Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, the ICT Ministers from the region are now seeking approval from all respective central banks and treasury Ministries to go on with the project.
“Our presidents gave us a deadline and we are doing our best to have this done,” the CS said.
The One Area Network Agreement is a commitment by regional countries to push for a reduction on international and roaming tariffs to ensure affordable communication services for ease of doing business.
“We are now exploring how we can have the One Area Network infrastructure grow from voice to data and mobile money transfer.We want you to be able to move money from your MPESA account here to a relative in Kigali and vice versa or from Airtel Uganda to Safaricom in Nairobi,” Matiang’i said.
The Ministries, he said, will on their part focus on working on data reforms to reduce its cost in the region using the relevant authorities under them.
The project is being implemented in three EAC countries – Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda – as well as South Sudan which is yet to formally join the community.
In January this year the three Heads of State agreed to kick off with the harmonisation of the roaming voice charges which will see reduction by 60 percent.
“We are in talks with Tanzania and they have signed a commitment agreement to be involved in this,”Matiang’i said.
Matiang’i was speaking on Tuesday during the Connected East Africa forum.
The annual forum has been organised by the ICT Authority in conjuction with the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology among other partners and sponsors.