LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – The mobile money service of Kenya’s largest telco has officially reached 50-million active users across Africa, according to an announcement by Safaricom.
M-PESA is now, by the sheer size of its active user base, the most popular mobile money platform on the continent and the largest financial technology in Africa, according to TechWeez.
The service counts the majority of its users in Kenya, more than 29.1 million, in which it also enjoys near-utter ubiquity across the country’s cellphones with nearly 99% of the market share. The service is also available in Tanzania, Mozambique, DRC, Lesotho, Ghana and Egypt.
M-PESA was initially launched in 2007 and has been constantly improved through new features and services that have propelled it to the status it enjoys today. The platform has also been responsible for the continued closing of the financial inclusion gap across the continent, and especially in its home of Kenya.
“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,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, MD, M-PESA Africa.
In its current form, M-PESA offers two key options – it provides financial services to both private individuals and businesses. Customers can use the platform to send and receive cash from over 200 countries and regions across Earth. Investors can use the platform to make bull payments, and businesses can leverage M-PESA to process payments as well.
More than 500,000 businesses transact more than $7-billion every month through M-PESA, Safaricom says. The company also says it has more than 500,000 M-PESA agents supporting the platform and its services.
Recently Safaricom also launched a smartphone super-app that contains all of M-PESA’s available services, as well as a host of new features.
In July, the case of Jonathan Murangiri Gikabu claiming that Safaricom had stolen his idea to launch M-PESA payments using a card tap, wristband or a phone sticker was dismissed by Kenya’s High Court.
The High Court judge at the time said that Gikabu had failed to present enough evidence that Safaricom seized the idea from him. Gikabu had claimed that M-Pesa 1 Tap was his brainchild, after selling the idea to Safaricom in 2014.
Safaricom would have had to pay Gikabu a settlement of $1.9-million if found to have stolen the idea.