Mobile money transfer platform M-Pesa has shown continued tailwinds under the rise of digital and, specifically, contactless payments after it recently hit the 50 million active users mark in Africa to cement its position as Africa’s largest fintech platform.
In 2007, Safaricom and Vodafone launched M-Pesa, Africa’s largest fintech platform, in Kenya as a way for customers to instantly send money to each other.
For many customers, the service became their first – and often their only – access to financial services. M-Pesa is today available in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Ghana and Egypt.
The service has done much to contribute to the growth of formal financial inclusion across the continent. Today customers can send and receive money, make and receive business payments, pay bills, make and receive international money transfers, save and access credit, all from the convenience of their mobile phones, wherever they may be in the countries served, utilising more than 500,000 M-Pesa agents.
Speaking on the recent milestone achievement, Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, the M-Pesa Africa managing director, said, “14 years ago, we launched M-Pesa to connect our customers to each other and to different opportunities. We are delighted to celebrate this remarkable milestone with our more than 50 million customers across the continent.”
“We are reiterating our commitment and deepening our focus on more innovations that will further transform the lives of our customers,” he added.
The access to financial services and products in Kenya grew by an astonishing 56 per cent between 2006-2019 due to the availability of mobile money. M-Pesa has been credited with lifting at least two per cent of Kenyan households out of extreme poverty – so far.
Specially designed apps, for both consumers and businesses, services helping companies to make business payments, and systems for enabling small businesses to separate their personal and business funds have further boosted the reach of M-Pesa.
The app has also been investing in new technologies and partnerships, including products that encourage savings and lending, wealth management and insurance. In addition to expanding its partnerships in an effort to boost its share of the massive remittance business.
Despite this success, at a time when the potential of mobile finance is attracting numerous well-supported start-ups and big established names to the African market, M-Pesa can hardly stand still. On the other hand, few other similar services can match its brand recognition.