From Botswana – 2: Domestic and International Money Transfer, Mobile, and Western Union


Photos from Botswana are at;

Botswana is a very big country, covering 581730 square kilometers of land approximately equivalent to France.  So far, I learned that in Botswana mobile phones are used widely, official language is English, compulsory education is widely spread and most children go to school until 10th grade (equivalent to high school 1st grade in Japan).  Tuitions are free with government support.  Such policy for education indicates without doubt, this country has a great potential.  Such characteristics are the strength of this nation.

On February 19th, I posted a column on ‘Western Union’ pointing out how terribly closed Japan’s policies are.

I received several comments and feedbacks from frequent visitors of my blog site.  With the visionary leadership of Vodafone, a cross-border Mobile Money Transfer (MMT) service between the UK and Kenya will be piloted.

In Kenya, ‘Safaricom’, a leading mobile network operator, is offering a service of transferring small amount of money via mobile phone.  This is apparently quite useful in many countries in Africa, where social infrastructures such as transportation and communication are still developing.  Even ‘Western Union’ cannot be of much use if the areas do not have Western Union offices to remit money.  So this kind of money transfer service is an example of a new ‘Demand-driven innovation’.

Sending money via mobile domestically seemed to be quite simple in Botswana.  I saw immediately one Western Union office in town.

In countries that rely on foreign work force such as the United Arab Emirates, sending money to family at home can be an important business.  Remittance to abroad from UAE is estimated to amount up to one trillion yen (10 billion dollars), and it seems that more transparent service of remitting money via mobile phone is going to be available soon.

Are Japanese banks against offering services of sending small money easily via mobile phone or other devices?  If so, then why?  Could it be because they raise a good profit by charging a very high handling fee?  In this ‘Flattening World’ where big paradigm shifts are taking place, institution and corprate that try to fight against the trend of this majot CHANGE will certainly and inevitably decline and a sure loser.  Wake up and get on to the world!