ADDIS ABABA – SAfaricom has celebrated the 15-year anniversary of the launch of M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer service that the Kenyan telecom firm started together with Vodafone in March 2007.
From its beginning in Kenya, M-PESA has grown to more than 51 million customers, 465,000 businesses, 600,000 agents and 42,000 developers across seven African countries
The service processes more than 61 million transactions a day making it Africa’s largest fintech provider.
“We launched M-PESA back in 2007 in a bid to deepen financial inclusion for our customers by connecting them to useful and affordable financial services,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO – Safaricom.
In 15 years, Ndegwa said the company has seen population “access to formal financial services grow to as high as 83% as we introduced additional services and reached more customers.”
Last year, M-PESA Africa launched a Super App and a Business Super App which enable any business on the service to run a virtual store front providing their services virtually through M-PESA Mini Apps.
“Going into the future, we continue to build on our purpose to transform lives by providing our customers with a wide variety of digital solutions that empower them in an increasingly digital world, ” said the CEO of Safaricom.
A Safaricom-led consortium—which also includes Vodacom and Vodafone—was granted a telecommunication licence in Ethiopia in May last year, following a $850 million bid .
The consortium, scheduled to start telecom operation in Ethiopia next month under Safaricom Ethiopia, is preparing to begin M-PESA service but needs to acquire additional license.
Ethiopia’s current financial law restricts foreigners from getting into the financial services space.
However, authorities are reportedly finalizing on legal changes to issue Safaricom with additional license for mobile financial services and allow it to compete with Ethio telecom’s Telebirr.
Launched in may, 2021, Telebirr was able to attract more than 13.1 million subscribers within eight months, showing the potential of the market in Ethiopia.
Featured Image Caption: Safaricom employee displays the M-Pesa money transfer service on a smartphone inside a mobile phone care centre in Nairobi on November 22, 2018. [PHOTO File/AFP]