Zantel teams up with People's Bank of Zanzibar to serve diaspora


(Toronto, Canada) – Zanzibar Telecom Ltd (ZANTEL) has today jumped on the bandwagon of the new Diaspora remittance service (mobile) of the People’s Bank of Zanzibar Limited (PBZ Ltd). The service gives Diaspora families an additional convenience to remit funds to their relatives and friends directly to their mobile phone numbers wherever they are in Tanzania.

Up till now, the People’s Bank of Zanzibar has been operating the service only through Tigo mobile network. But, from today, according to the bank, remittances from abroad can also be channelled to
any recipient in Tanzania who is holding a Zantel mobile number, provided the number is registered for mobile money services (Ezy Pesa) by the provider (Zantel).

In a very short clear-cut statement to Diaspora communities in Canada, the bank stated that the Zantel system is automatic, and therefore those sending money back home need to be very careful by giving the correct phone numbers of the recipients in Tanzania, else the system could pay somebody else and in such a case the sender is responsible for the consequences. In addition, the bank insisted that the sender must make sure that the recipient's phone number is a registered Ezy Pesa account. The system would return funds sent to phone numbers which are not registered Ezy Pesa accounts.

Today’s news that Zantel has teamed up with the People’s Bank of Zanzibar in serving Diaspora communities has not come as a surprise to many in the Diaspora, because Zantel is known to be a leader in Tanzania in offering high tech surprises. Already Zanzibar residents are purchasing electricity (TUKUZA) through their Zantel mobile phone numbers enabled by a recently inaugurated technological innovation which was a result of collaboration between Zantel and Zanzibar Electric Company Limited (ZECO).

Tigo and Zantel combined have a customer base of more than 7.5 million phone subscribers in Tanzania. According to Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), the country has more than 28 million phone subscribers - mobile and wired networks, with majority being mobile users. Discussions to encompass the other 2-cellular giants (Vodacom and Airtel) into the new mobile remittance service are reported by the bank to be in progress.

Surprisingly enough, the mobile remittance service launched just eight weeks ago in Zanzibar and in London simultaneously by the People’s Bank of Zanzibar in collaboration with a UK company called WorldRemit, has all of a sudden become viral news in the Diaspora, with families calling and informing each other of the new service and exchanging the bank's website address ( for details. This excitement could be because in the past some Diaspora families could not easily send money to their loved ones living far away from town centres. Also, there are hardly any banks or financial service institutions in some hinterland areas of Mainland Tanzania and therefore this new service must have come as a blessing for many in the Diaspora whose families live in such distant areas.

Recently local Tanzanian mobile networks signed the 'interoperability agreement’ which allows mobile money customers to transfer cash to each other regardless of whether they are using Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money or Ezy Pesa on their mobile handsets. This agreement provided the shot in the arm for the new mobile remittance service of the People’s Bank. Just last week, Tigo and Airtel officially enacted the agreement.

Online remittance services through the People’s Bank of Zanzibar for Tanzanians living in the USA are expected to start this Autumn.

Market research reveals that, the remittance services of PBZ / WorldRemit are of the lowest fees and most convenient to customers, as transactions can be effectuated online even from mobile phones.

According to the bank’s officials in Zanzibar, as of today, recipients in Tanzania have now the options to pre-register for Tigo’s mobile money service called Tigo Pesa or Zantel’s Ezy Pesa or for both, prior to receiving funds from abroad.

The People’s Bank of Zanzibar which is Zanzibar’s only indigenous bank fully owned by the people of Zanzibar, has always been in the forefront and has never been hesitant in adopting new systems and technologies, as it strives to achieve and maintain excellence in its services to the people. According to the bank, it is still continuing to work towards offering a bunch of other important services to the Tanzanian Diaspora communities worldwide.

Source: Zanzibar Ni Kwetu