M-Pesa: Kenya’s mobile money success story turns 10
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Smartphone payments are gaining ground in the US, but mobile money is old news in Kenya.
The majority of the East African country’s population is subscribed to a mobile payment service, and the most popular choice is M-Pesa, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in March 2017. M-Pesa — “pesa” means “money” in Swahili — has made a dramatic impact over this time.
The system was launched by Vodafone’s Safaricom mobile operator in 2007 as a simple method of texting small payments between users. Today there are 30 million users in 10 countries and a range of services including international transfers, loans, and health provision. The system processed around 6 billion transactions in 2016 at a peak rate of 529 per second.
M-Pesa is also lauded for its social value; offering opportunities for small businesses, and playing a significant role in reducing poverty.
There have been bumps in the road — the service was withdrawn from South Africa after poor performance — but M-Pesa’s first decade has been a success story.
Source: CNN (link opens in a new window)