M-Pesa reports 27 pc jump in global users to 25 million

Wednesday April 27 2016

A customer prepares to use the Lipa na M-PESA service at an Uchumi counter in Nairobi on January 27, 2015. M-Pesa has reported a 27.1 per cent growth in its active users across Africa, Asia and Europe in the year ended March 2016, hitting a total subscriber base of 25 million. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A customer prepares to use the Lipa na M-PESA service at an Uchumi counter in Nairobi on January 27, 2015. M-Pesa has reported a 27.1 per cent growth in its active users across Africa, Asia and Europe in the year ended March 2016, hitting a total subscriber base of 25 million. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP NATION MEDIA GROUP

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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M-Pesa has reported a 27.1 per cent growth in its active users across Africa, Asia and Europe in the year ended March 2016, hitting a total subscriber base of 25 million.

British telco Vodafone, which owns 40 per cent of Safaricom, has been launching the money transfer service in various choice markets around the world.

The mobile phone-based service has a presence in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Mozambique, Egypt, Lesotho, Ghana, Albania and Romania.

Vodafone Group Director of Mobile Money Michael Joseph said the surge in usage is attributed to M-Pesa’s entry into Albania and Ghana as well as support from a network of over 261,000 agents in countries of operation.

“Since 2007, M-Pesa has enhanced the lives and livelihoods of people without bank accounts, giving them access to essential financial services through their mobile phones,” said Mr Joseph.

In Kenya, M-Pesa has about 19 million active users transacting an estimated Sh15 billion daily. Vodafone declined to provide the value of global M-Pesa transactions.

Its usage is expected to further surge through cross-border arrangements such as Global Framework Agreements (GFA) with two international money transfer hubs, TransferTo and MFS For Africa.

MTN AGREEMENT

Vodafone also stated that an agreement with MTN Mobile Money to enable direct cash transfers between M-Pesa and MTN customers in seven countries across East Africa will drive up usage.

M-Pesa is also set to benefit from a deal between Tanzania’s major mobile operators, including Vodacom, to enable its domestic mobile money services to be fully interoperable - the first market in Africa to do so.

“M-Pesa continues to expand, evolving beyond traditional money transfers to encompass savings and loans, payment of salaries and benefits, settlement of utility bills and school fees and to enable vital health and agricultural solutions,” said Mr Joseph.

In the phase of increased competition from rivals, M-Pesa thrives within the 11 countries it operates through innovative partnerships.

In Lesotho, for instance, the Ministry of Social Development pays welfare grants using M-Pesa, Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture also pays fertiliser subsidies using it. 

In India, the National Rural Livelihoods Mission uses M-Pesa to enable financial inclusion for women’s groups and the National Rural Health Mission is using the service to disburse pre-natal health benefits.