Mobile Financial Services in East Africa

Assessing cross-border mobile transactions in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi




USAID's Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) fosters the rapid adoption of digital technologies to advance development goals within health, education, food security, and civil society. mSTAR is led by FHI 360.


In partnership with FHI 360, mSTAR sought to evaluate cross-border payments via digital financial services in order to establish a business case for offering this service and to identify opportunities for expansion in East Africa.



Understanding of the demand and supply-side dynamics of East African cross-border transactions pertaining to SMEs and agricultural goods.

Identification of opportunities to expand mobile financial services across borders, which would reduce the cost of cross border payments and incentivize integration of mobile financial services into the regional economy.


Assessed the dynamics of cross-border mobile financial services platforms and remittances in 5 East African Countries.

Conducted stakeholder interviews with the operators that are deploying mobile financial platforms.

Engaged with a sample of SMEs to understand their financial services usage and practices related to cross-border trade.

Evaluated the business case and opportunities for the creation and/or expansion of mobile money platforms for international transactions and remittance flows.


There is a large volume of cross-border payments in the East Africa Community, and they play a key role in facilitating intra-regional trade. During this assignment, Enclude generated insights into the nature of cross-border transactions and the opportunities and challenges in digitizing these transactions on a mobile payment platform. Such insights included a detailed anlaysis of the enabling environment in the respective countries, as well as an analysis of the various mobile money use cases for the businesses. Similarly, it engaged with SMEs utilizing these services to better their needs and how suppliers could best help facilitate international payment on digital channels.

Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi