One of the world’s biggest mobile money services wants to become a social network
By Abdi Latif Dahir
Kenya mobile network operator Safaricom is launching a platform that will allow its customers to send and receive money while they chat. The move is set to reinforce the dominance of the world’s mobile money transfer service M-Pesa, advance its ambition to become an innovative global business, while also facilitating a further connection between tens of millions of subscribers.
The messaging service, known as Bonga (which means “to chat” in colloquial Swahili), was partially-launched on April 26, in closed beta testing for select users on Android devices, according to documents seen by Quartz. The app will allow users to review their balance on M-Pesa, besides letting customers transact money without leaving the platform. The service was first conceived of in August 2017 and was produced by the company’s innovation arm Alpha, which was established last year to leverage M-Pesa to drive financial inclusion.
Photo courtesy of Rob Tinworth.