April 27

Africa’s Tech Innovators Spy Opportunity Amid Pandemic

By Eromo Egbejule

In March, Kenyan telecom operator Safaricom announced a move that on the surface appeared counterintuitive. For a 90-day period, it made free all person-to-person (P2P) transactions under 1,000 Kenyan shillings ($9) on the popular Nairobi-headquartered mobile money service M-Pesa, which revolutionized mobile payments globally.

Daily transaction limits on the platform have also been increased from 70,000 shillings ($660) to 150,000 shillings ($1,415) for small and medium-sized enterprises. Safaricom earns a quarter of its revenue from M-Pesa’s 20.5 million customers, mostly in Kenya and Tanzania, so it is effectively agreeing to risk losing some of those earnings.

But it’s a gamble the telecom firm appears willing to take to pull in more low-income users at a time economic, sociopolitical and cultural activities stand disrupted across the continent due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Photo courtesy of rawpixel.

Source: OZY (link opens in a new window)

Coronavirus, Technology
fintech, telecommunications