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M-Pesa celebrates 6th birthday

As M-Pesa celebrates its sixth birthday, Safaricom chief executive officer (CEO) Bob Collymore says the service has developed “beyond any of our expectations”.

Speaking to HumanIPO, Collymore said the company was proud of its mobile money service, which has revolutionised payment solutions in Africa and across the world and provided economic empowerment to a section of society previously denied financial services.

“We are proud that this is one area where Africa and Kenya in particular leads the world.  Today similar services are available in Tanzania, India, Afghanistan, Fiji, South Africa, DRC and Qatar… and will very shortly be available in Mozambique,” says Collymore.

Indeed, Safaricom believes M-Pesa is responsible for more than 50 per cent of all mobile money transfers globally, and the service transfers the equivalent of 30 per cent of Kenya’s GDP.

More specifically, it is the impact on the low-income end of society that Collymore feels is one of M-Pesa’s most significant contributions.

“At a more tangible level, it has brought basic financial services to a section of the community who had previously been denied such services thus enriching their lives and bringing economic empowerment to many in rural communities, especially women.”

In November of last year, Safaricom entered into a partnership with the Commercial Bank of Kenya (CBK) and launched M-Shwari, a micro-financing service through which M-Pesa users can access credit of between KSh100 (US$1.15) and KSh20,000 (US$230.7).

The service also helps customers put away savings from as little as KSh1, with an annual interest rate of 5 per cent.

“The launch of M-Shwari late last year has gone to further extend the functionality of the product as we continue on this journey of transforming lives through financial inclusion,” Collymore noted.

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