Improving Urban Water Governance through Mobile Finance Innovations


This research project examines the emerging relationships between urban water provision and the growing use of mobile payment innovations in Dar es Salaam – the commercial capital of Tanzania and a centre of innovation for the application of mobile technologies to public service provision. The Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (DAWASCO) was the first urban water utility in Sub-Saharan Africa to offer mobile-enabled payments for water services. Novel payment solutions include mobile money services, mobile banking channels, and networks of wireless pay points throughout the city. There has been much speculation regarding the impacts of mobile payment systems on customer payment behaviours, water utility performance and efficiency, and access to water services by the urban poor.
This report focuses on the contributions mobile-enabled payment methods have made toward improving water provision via four priority areas of exploration. These include:

  1. Financial Sustainability
  2. governance and citizen empowerment,
  3. customer choice in household finance, and
  4. engaging target populations.

Among the key findings: mobile payment methods reduce opportunities for petty corruption, improve revenue collection per customer, and enhance the quality of data generated by the billing and payment process.

Collaborative Report