In 2015, The Economist was already asking, “Why is Kenya the world leader in mobile money?” The magazine was impressed by M-Pesa, a telephone money transfer system launched in 2007 to manage microloans.
M-Pesa is a mobile money-based microfinance and money transfer system launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the two largest mobile operators in Kenya and Tanzania
Today, it is used for all kinds of transactions – and is spreading not only in Africa, but also in Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, India and beyond.
On its tenth anniversary, M-Pesa has completed 6 billion transactions for 30 million users worldwide.
As Bill Gates wrote on Twitter: ” In Kenya, M-Pesa proves that when people are empowered, they will use digital technology to innovate themselves. “.
M-Pesa allows people to store money on a secure digital account and transfer it to their phone, even allowing them to pay bills and send money abroad. Authorized agents will exchange money for electronic money and will be able to do the same thing in reverse.
The service is mainly powered by text messages, although an application is also available for the small number of smartphone users.
In 2017, ten years after its launch, M-Pesa expanded to 10 countries, had 29.5 million active users and processed up to 614 million transactions per month.