Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kenya leads Africa in mobile pay technology: report

A report says Kenya is “in the company of big, developed and integrated markets like the United States and Canada, and city-state powerhouses like Singapore.”

Photo/FILE A report says Kenya is “in the company of big, developed and integrated markets like the United States and Canada, and city-state powerhouses like Singapore.” 

By KEVIN J KELLEY, NATION CORRESPONDENT

New York

Kenya leads the developing world in readiness to adopt mobile payment technology, according to a survey conducted by MasterCard.

The country's standing in the index published on Monday will enhance Kenya's global reputation as a leader in technological innovation.

“The success of M-Pesa has created an alternative payment network in Kenya, making it, in terms of sheer usage, one of the most advanced markets in the world,” says a report accompanying the MasterCard index.

“The success of mobile payments in Kenya is remarkable and can serve as a blueprint for payments adoption in the rest of the emerging world.”

Overall, Kenya ranks fourth among 34 countries surveyed.

It is “in the company of big, developed and integrated markets like the United States and Canada, and city-state powerhouses like Singapore,” the report says.

Kenya finishes ahead of such tech-focused countries as South Korea, Japan, China and India.

Ironically, the MasterCard report observes, Kenya's success with mobile money transfers is attributable in part to “a lack of traditional infrastructure and alternative conventional payment media.”

“Mobile suggested itself as a solution to a population deeply in need of a fast and secure method of payment,” MasterCard says.

Noting that “M-Pesa is a closed loop,” the report adds that there is considerable room for expansion of mobile payment technology in Kenya.

“They’ve shown the way globally, but the country itself is also ripe for a more flexible and accessible payments structure that leverages all types of payments and permits multilateral entry into a broader-based financial services and telecommunications infrastructure,” the report says.

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