Romania became the first country in Europe to enable the receipt of international remittance payments direct to a mobile phone, as UK firms Azimo and WorldRemit separately struck partnership deals with Vodafone Romania.

The agreements will enable Vodafone users in Romania who are registered with M-Pesa to receive payments from friends and family outside the country on their handsets.

Users can then collect the funds from more than 2,000 M-Pesa agents around the country.

Approximately three million Romanian migrants live in other parts of Europe, mainly Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK.

Several billion dollars is sent in remittance payments back to the country every year from elsewhere in Europe.

Vodafone users can either collect cash from an M-Pesa agent or use it directly from their accounts to pay utility bills, recharge their pre-paid accounts and buy goods at selected merchants.