Kenya 'drafting mobile banking legislation'

27 May 2009

Kenya's government is working on a raft of new legislation designed to strengthen the country's financial services sector ahead of an anticipated explosion in mobile banking, finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta has revealed.

Speaking at a conference on mobile banking, Mr Kenyatta - who is also Kenya's deputy prime minister - said a "sound legal and regulatory framework" is imperative to the development of so-called branchless banking in the east African republic, Reuters reports.

The news agency said there is huge growth potential for mobile banking services in Kenya, as there are currently only 3.6 million branch-based bank accounts for a population of 36 million people.

Mr Kenyatta said: "Access to finance plays a major role in promoting high and sustained rates of economic growth and particularly in reducing poverty."

Nevertheless, the minister added that the global financial crisis had highlighted the need for balance between innovation and regulation.

Draft laws currently under consideration include provisions to ensure the protection of electronic data and the official recognition of mobile payments.

Kenya's legislature is also in the process of debating a proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering bill, the minister noted.

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