Mobile money at centre of Safaricom’s success story

Friday October 11 2019

A customer uses Safaricom's mobile money service M-Pesa to pay his bill. M-Pesa disburses two mobile loans to its customers. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


As the popularity of mobile money gathers steam in the country, Safaricom’s dominance continues to grow, with about 26.9 million M-Pesa active subscribers every month.

On its lending platform M-Shwari, M-Pesa has more than 22 million registered subscribers, out of whom more than five million are active every month.

On the KCB-M-Pesa, the joint platform with Kenya Commercial Bank, Safaricom has 14 million registered customers.

Safaricom has more than 176,000 M-Pesa agents spread across the country, making it possible for Kenyans to send and withdraw money with convenience. All Kenyans can access M-Pesa services within a 2km radius.

The Lipa na M-Pesa service, the platform that enables M-Pesa users to pay for goods, services and bills, now has 109,000 active merchants across the countries where M-Pesa exists.



Statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya indicate that the mobile money is the leading mode of cashless payments in the country, as more Kenyans embrace technology. Out of every 10 cashless transactions in the Kenya, eight are done on mobile phones.

Safaricom has attained another milestone through connecting nearly one million Kenyan homes and businesses to its solar energy technology M-Kopa Solar known simply as M-Kopa.

As of September 2018, 780,000 households had been connected to this clean energy source. The result has been 62.5 million hours of kerosene-free lighting every month in these homes.

In its contribution to the country’s healthcare, the M-Tiba service has made it easier for Kenyans to access services by saving money through their mobile phones.

This platform allows subscribers to send, save and spend funds specifically for treatment at more than 400 facilities countrywide.


Today, more than a million Kenyans are saving money on the platform, making it possible for them and their families to access life-saving treatment.

By March 2018, Kenyans had saved about Sh31 million on the platform. So far, M-Tiba has paid out more than Sh200 million to its customers for more than 329,000 clinic visits.

Safaricom continues to gain on its money transfer behemoth, with a total of 18 million M-Pesa transactions daily. With every second that passes, M-Pesa disburses two mobile loans to its customers.

A survey conducted by economists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgetown University shows that since 2008, access to M-Pesa services increased the daily-per-person consumption of 194,000 households.

This represents two per cent of all Kenyan households lifted from extreme poverty. The era of mobile money has seen the gap between the rural and urban users of financial services dramatically closed.

Mobile-money services have also boosted the economic status of 185,000 women, moving them from farming activities to business.

Financial inclusion has grown by more than 50 per cent since 2007, with about 80 per cent of Kenyans now in the bracket.