March 6

Multinationals yielding to allure of M-Pesa

Tech giant Google’s decision to allow customers to pay for applications using M-Pesa has buttressed the idea that for multinationals based in Kenya, Safaricom’s mobile money service is the par excellence agent of localisation.

Google is the latest firm in a string of multinational corporations that have had to think global and act local… act M-Pesa.

For a while, Google required consumers in Kenya to pay for apps and games bought from its Play Store and Game Store using credit cards, as though they were in developed countries such as the US where there is a widespread use of cards.

The use of credit and debit cards in Kenya is not as widespread as mobile money transfer services which, besides M-Pesa, also include Airtel Money, Equity Bank’s Equitel. By restricting payment to credit and debit cards, the Internet giant not only locked out close to 27.8 million users of M-Pesa but also belied Google’s ambition to reach every corner of the earth.

Photo courtesy of Neil Palmer.

Source: The Standard Digital (link opens in a new window)

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