Kenyan mobile service providers are increasing payments

Mobile operators in Kenya are joining a central bank initiative to integrate the country’s payment systems by allowing mobile payments across networks, Bloomberg reported on Friday (April 8).

The first phase of the project will allow customers of Telkom Kenya Ltd. and Airtel Networks Kenya Ltd. pay for their products and services through Safaricom Plc’s M-Pesa, one of the largest mobile money platforms in the East African country, according to the report.

The Central Bank of Kenya prefers transparent payments over networks so that customers can send and receive money from any bank or FinTech.

The number of mobile money transactions has increased to 60% of gross domestic product in 2021, from 23% in 2010.

Last year there were more than 2.2 billion transactions worth more than 6.9 trillion shillings ($60 billion), the Central Bank reported.

“We have over 400,000 merchants,” Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, director of financial services at Safaricom, told the outlet. “More than 11 million customers use this service on a monthly basis, and 100 billion shillings go to this service on a monthly basis.”

In February, PYMNTS reported that amid the evolving payments ecosystem in Africa, innovation is the norm.

See also: Ecobank Says Africa’s Payment, FinTech Future Is Brilliant

In two decades, major transformations have taken place, from the rise of mobile money led by telcos to the growth of automation across the industry, according to Osahon Akpata, head of consumer payments at Ecobank, which has witnessed many advances in payment.

“In the 2010s, we started to see more automation in clearinghouses across the continent,” Akpata told PYMNTS. “Nigeria launched the interbank settlement system in 2011, which marked the beginning of a period of faster settlement of transactions and emphasis on interoperability.”

Along with the spread of blockchain technology, the use of cryptocurrencies is booming in emerging markets such as Nigeria, in part due to difficulties with foreign currency transactions, Akpata added.



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Casey J. Nelson