DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania and NAIROBI, Kenya and BARCELONA, February 18 /PRNewswire/ --

- Zain launches Zap, the Most Comprehensive Service Enabling Customers to Access Their Money Faster and More Conveniently.

- Reshaping the Future of Banking in Africa, the Service Will be Available to Over 100 Million People in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

Leading mobile telecommunications provider Zain today announced plans to bring mobile banking to over 100 million people in East Africa with the launch of its new service, Zap.

Providing the most comprehensive and accessible package of mobile banking features currently available on the African continent, Zap will be initially available in Kenya and Tanzania prior to launch in Uganda. Zap represents the most comprehensive mobile banking service ever launched and will provide millions of people with access to banking for the very first time.

Zain is partnering with leading international and regional banks including Citigroup and Standard Chartered to launch Zap, which will allow Zain customers in the three countries to use their mobile phone to:

- Pay bills and pay for goods and services - Receive money and send money to friends and family - Send and receive money to the bank accounts - Withdraw cash - Top up their own airtime account or top up someone else's - Send airtime to Zain customers in East Africa - Manage their bank accounts

The Zap service will also be included as part of Zain's pioneering One Network service, meaning that customers will be able to send airtime to other Zain customers across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. One Network allows travelling customers to move across geographic borders without roaming surcharges, recharge their mobile phones with locally purchased top up cards and receive calls for free.

Dr. Saad Al Barrak, Zain Group's Chief Executive Officer said: The launch of Zap represents the latest chapter in our work to push the boundaries of mobile communications. For any market in the world, the combination of services we are providing would be exciting; but when set in an African context, the implications are especially profound.

He further added With a potential customer base of over 100 million people in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, many of whom have never had access to formal financial services, we believe Zap will reshape the future of banking in Africa.

Zap will provide customers with increased security and flexibility, reducing the need to carry cash and ensuring payments between friends and family remain secure. A password is needed for each transaction and the service is protected through a state-of-the-art security application. Customers will also benefit from being able to access the service 24 hours a day, seven days a week through their handset, providing the convenience of accessing cash anytime, anywhere.

Zain customers can sign-up for free for the new Zap banking and payment services by completing an application form and handing it over to registered Zain agents in tens of thousands of villages, towns and cities across East Africa. Zain will then provide the customer with a mobile wallet, which will allow them to use their mobile phone in much the same way as a bank account debit card and manage their money through their handset. The service is supported on all handsets including ultra low cost handsets (ULCH) which Zain is successfully rolling out across the continent.

Zain and its partners are confident that Zap will increase access to banking services in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, where formal banking services are largely restricted to urban populations. Eighty per cent of Kenya's(1) and ninety-five per cent of Tanzania's and Uganda's populations(2) do not currently have access to banking services.

Zain, in partnership with Citigroup and Standard Chartered Bank, is ensuring that the services meet all the required in-country banking regulations as stipulated by the central banks for the launch of Zap services. In addition Zain's banking partners will facilitate payments and settlement processes in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed with the in country banking regulations.

Standard Chartered Bank's Area Head of Consumer Banking - East Africa, Kariuki Ngari said: We are extremely excited to be partnering with Zain on this ground-breaking initiative. M-commerce has the potential to transform banking in Africa and will help overcome many of the obstacles presented by providing banking services to remote and rural communities. We're proud to be working with Zain at the forefront of this mobile banking revolution.

Sridhar Srinivasan, Global Transaction Services Head, Sub-Saharan Africa, Citi, said: We are proud to be part of this initiative that will transform the banking environment in Tanzania allowing people to access financial services everywhere. The Zap offering is a true innovation, extending the reach of financial services to every corner of this country and stimulating the payments system through accessible mobile technology. Our successful partnership with Zain enabling this groundbreaking service is a great testament of our commitment to the economic development of the countries where we operate, by promoting financial inclusion.

Chris Gabriel, CEO Zain Africa said: Research has shown that m-banking and m-payments can help lower the transaction costs of money transfer, increase the flow of money by making it easier to send smaller amounts and introduce those without bank accounts to a means of secure financial management. By enabling people to use their mobile phones as mobile wallets, we hope to deliver lasting benefits not just for our customers, but also for the economies of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Zain plans to roll-out the enhanced Zap service to the rest of its African and Middle East network following the East Africa launch in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. During a three month trial phase the service was used by several international companies including Coca Cola who used it to pay their dealers in Tanzania.

By using Zap millions of customers will be able to pay their electricity bills in Kenya and Tanzania, while Zain also plans to increase the number of services that can be paid for using Zap as part of its aim to transform the use of money in the Africa.

As part of its corporate social responsibility programme Zain is funding communication in several remote rural areas which have been designated Millennium Villages across Africa. Using Zap, Zain customers and members of the public will be able to make donations to fund the Millennium Villages project. More than 400,000 people live in the Millennium Villages and the project is investing in them and their communities towards finding a sustainable end to extreme poverty. Members of the public around the world will be able to make donations using Causes on Facebook and Zap to the Millennium Villages. Causes leverages online social networking for offline social change. More than 30 million people around the world use Causes to have an impact on the issues that matter most to them, making it the world's largest platform for philanthropy and civic engagement.

Zain was the first mobile company to introduce phone-to-phone airtime credit transfer service in 2005 (Me2U). Currently over US$10 million worth of airtime transfers take place in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda each month.

Zain is currently the fourth largest mobile network in the world in terms of geographic presence, with a footprint in 22 countries spread across the Middle East and Africa and providing mobile voice and data services to over 60 million active customers.

Notes to editors

About Zain

Zain is a leading emerging markets player in the field of telecommunications aiming to become one of the top ten mobile operators in the world by 2011. Zain was established in 1983 in Kuwait as the region's first mobile operator. Since 2003, it has grown significantly becoming the 4th largest mobile network in the world in terms of geographic presence with a footprint in 22 countries spread across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to over 60 million active customers.

Zain operates in the following countries: Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In Lebanon, the company manages the network on behalf of the government operating as mtc-touch.

The Zain brand is wholly owned by Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC, which is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (Stock ticker: ZAIN). For more information, please visit http://www.zain.com or email info@zain.com.

About Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered PLC, listed on both London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, ranks among the top 25 companies in the FTSE-100 by market capitalisation. The London-headquartered Group has operated for over 150 years in some of the world's most dynamic markets, leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Its income and profits have more than doubled over the last five years primarily as a result of organic growth and supplemented by acquisitions.

Standard Chartered aspires to be the best international bank for its customers across its markets. The Bank derives more than 90 per cent of its operating income and profits from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, generated from its Wholesale and Consumer Banking businesses. The Group has around 1,750 branches and outlets located in over 70 countries. The extraordinary growth of its markets and businesses creates exciting and challenging international career opportunities.

Leading by example to be the right partner for its stakeholders, the Group is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. It employs 75,000 people, nearly half of whom are women. The Group's employees are of 115 nationalities, of which 60 are represented among senior management.

For more information, please visit: http://www.standardchartered.com.

About Citigroup

Global Transaction Services, a division of Citi's Institutional Clients Group, offers integrated cash management, trade, and securities and fund services to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the world. With a network that spans more than 140 countries, Citi's Global Transaction Services supports over 65,000 clients. As of the 4th quarter of 2008, it held on average $292 billion in liability balances and $10.7 trillion in assets under custody.

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Citi's major brand names include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Banamex, and Nikko. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or http://www.citi.com .

About Causes on Facebook

Causes leverages online social networking for offline social change. More than 30 million people use Causes to have an impact on the issues that matter most to them, making it the world's largest platform for philanthropy and civic engagement. A cause is a user-created advocacy group within Facebook that gives people tools for building community and taking collective action. Cause members stay informed and engage with other members through the Wall, discussion board, and media board. They also take action for their cause by recruiting, donating, fundraising, and signing and promoting petitions.


(1) Source: 'Why m-banking and m-payments is potentially transformational and is a key tool in poverty alleviation, SJB Gamos 2006'

(2) Source: Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting 'Banking the Unbanked' report

For more information, please contact: Mwambu Wanendeya; Communications Director - Africa, Zain Group, Mwambu.wanendeya@zain.com or info@zain.com

For more information, please contact: Mwambu Wanendeya; Communications Director - Africa, Zain Group, Mwambu.wanendeya@zain.com or info@zain.com; Hannah Marriage / Helen Bennett on +44(0)207-067-0000