Dar es Salaam. The application of information and communication technologies (ICT) will improve following the coming into force of two laws on September 1, the regulator has said.
The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TRCA) cites bankers as among beneficiaries of the Cybercrime Act, 2015 and the Electronic Transactions Act, 2015 as their activities are increasingly dependent on ICT.
Three days before the laws came into force, Tanzania hosted the fifth East Africa Banking and ICT Summit in Dar es Salaam.
TCRA’s James Kilaba told the summit participants: “The players in the sector need to know what laws, regulations and processes are applicable in order to realise the benefits of ICTs in our socioeconomic environments.”
He hopes that the Electronic Transactions Act will improve confidence among financial institutions on the use of ICT to carry out their day to day activities. The law will address the e-services including electronic transactions, electronic contracts, electronic certification and electronic signature.
The cybercrime law criminalises offences related to ICT and provides for investigation and use of electronic evidence. It will address, among others, illegal access, forging and identity-related to crimes.
The event was conducted under the theme of the “Adoption Technology for Economic Growth” to remind all stakeholders on the role of ICTs and the associated new and emerging application challenges.
The development of ICT has led to technological applications like mobile financial and mobile banking solutions.
“An interesting example of the solution that has been popular in East Africa is the M-Kopa solar solution where citizens are able to buy solar energy equipment and pay small monthly fees via mobile payments,” Mr Kilaba said. But banks, for example, have been losing money.
Mr Sammy Kioko, a strategic alliance manager from Cyber Security Africa, said: “Some data shows there is annual loss of about $40 million among six countries of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia. This is a huge amount that needs to be protected.”
One way to protect institutions is to bring together ICT experts, regulators and bankers to discuss various technologies, challenges, share experience and come up with a proper mechanism to fight the crime. Among areas of focus is regulatory framework among the countries.
A lead product manager for Product Strategy Infosys/Finacle, Mr Vishwanath Thanalapatti, told BusinessWeek that in India the central bank is in charge of money transfer services and some institutions were licensed to extend the mobile payment to other areas.
“The adoption of money transfer services was taken by the central bank as among ways to achieve the financial inclusion. Currently only half of the citizens have access to the formal banking systems,” said Mr Thanalapatti.
Participants felt that banks are yet to effectively utilise the ICT to improve customer services.
Mr Amady Djouma, a business development manager with SAB International, said: “Some of the online thefts can be contained if the banking activities are wholly digitalized. For example, a manager needs to monitor activities at the counter at the same time interact directly with clients.”
He said digital banking ensures the performance improvement and reduces unnecessary challenges existing because of poor technology. With the wide usage of smartphones, bankers need to see how to tap the potential.
Mr Niladri Sekhar, general manager with Mobile Financial Services Craft Silicon, said the banking industry was undergoing some digital revolution like virtual banking branches which is being used in some countries. “Channels to have access to banking services are increasing, people are now connected to social media banking where they are able to request for cheque, check balance, settle bills and transfer money to mobile phone.”
Mr Sekhar demonstrated how one could access banking services using WhatsApp and the meeting participants were impressed.
Topics that dominated the event were cybercrime, cyber security, and various technologies useful for fighting cybercrimes, how banks can leverage technology to better engage with their customers, ICT infrastructure and mobile and disruptive innovations.