Zanzibar’s Tigo Pesa mega agent-rags to riches story

03Sep 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Zanzibar’s Tigo Pesa mega agent-rags to riches story

WHEN Said Issa Khatibu entered the Tigo Pesa family with a borrowed line from his neighbour in 2014, little did he know that by 2019, he would be one of the biggest agents of the mobile money platform.

Said Khatibu(L), a Tigo Pesa Wakala from Zanzibar, receiving a dummy cheque worth 2m/- from Tigo’s Head of Products for Mobile Financial Services, James Sumari, during a just ended Tigo Pesa Wakala campaign dubbed 'Cash in promotion.'

The industrious Khatibu has grown his business a humble wooden shack into a respected office handling millions of shillings in Tigo Pesa transactions daily. In recognition of his hardwork and entrepreneurship, Tigo Tanzania Limited’s management has awarded him several awards including cash worth over 15m/- in the past five years.

“I used my neighbours’ line for some time while saving money to obtain my own line. I used to give my neighbour 70 percent of daily earnings while I got 30 percent,” the father of three said while pointing out that his future plan is to be Zanzibar’s super dealer for Tigo, one of the fastest growing mobile phone service company in the domestic market.

As of late, Khatib’s business transactions have grown from scratch to over 1.3bn/- as he sets his next target at 2bn/- in monthly transactions by the end of this year. Tigo Pesa, which Tigo Tanzania’s mobile money platform is a major player in the market commanding some 7.6 million subscribers who transact billions of shillings daily.

According to Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA)’s latest report, it indicates that the country’s six major mobile money operators had a total of 22,796,830 subscribers as of March 2019, which shows that the number of mobile users is on the increase.

Tigo Tanzania has invested extensively in infrastructure upgrade from 3G to 4G+ network in most parts of the country, which shows also that internet is one of the key drivers for future growth. This connectivity has ensured that the company’s subscribers both in urban and semi urban areas get all services easily while also utilising Tigo Pesa application to transact.

“Customers find it convenient to use our products such as Tigo Pesa and the Tigo Pesa App that is linked to 50 banks to make their daily transactions,” said Tigo Managing Director, Simon Karikari during a recent interview.

He added, “They continue to choose us as their reliable service provider because we make it digitally quick and easy.” Tigo Pesa application which was launched earlier this year has also proven to be a rapidly adopted product by the tech savvy generation because it can perform almost all the functions at fingertip length.

Launched in 2010, Tigo Pesa has grown from simply providing remittance services, payments of different bills, paying for products and services at merchant sales points to a fully-fledged platform that enhances financial inclusion in Tanzania.

In 2014, the platform was successful in launching a few firsts in the world including; interoperability with other mobile money operators and commercial banks, a service which enables mobile money users to send money to and from other operators directly into their wallets seamlessly, cross border mobile money service with automatic currency conversion, payout of quarterly returns on Tigo Pesa balance.

The platform has been leading in innovation, constantly adding a variety of products to its portfolio such as; loans, insurance, corporate solutions for collections and bulk disbursements, where companies can disburse directly to wallets of all other players (interoperability bulk disbursement).

“I also wish to commend all our agents for the instrumental role they play everyday in expanding the reach of mobile financial services across the country,” added Karikari.

As for Khatib who is sustainably growing with the company, the sky is the limit, because the returns have been good across the years and his dream is still on track to be Zanzibar’s super dealer for the fastest growing mobile phone service company in the market.