KENYA – Leading mobile money payment service M-Pesa has reached 50 million active monthly customers cementing its position as Africa’s largest fintech.

The milestone comes 14 years since the launch of the service in Kenya and nearly two years since the launch of the M-Pesa Africa Joint Venture.

Safaricom pioneered the person-to-person money transfer service in March 2007, which has since grown to a lucrative platform also offering customer-to-business and business-to-customer services.

M-Pesa today has a presence in Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho, DRC, Egypt, and Ghana. 

Safaricom and Vodafone jointly launched M-Pesa for the instant sending of money by customers to each other and for many, this became the only access to financial services propelling fast growth and adoption across the country.

Today, M-Pesa offers financial convenience for both businesses and customers as the latter can send, receive money, pay bills, make and receive business payments, and much more.

All activity takes place through the mobile phone, not to mention the 500,000 agents spread across the counties served.

M-Pesa Africa is also working towards offering digitized platforms as it works to become the region’s largest fintech and digital ecosystem for the continent.

In June 2021, M-Pesa rolled out its M-Pesa Super App across all markets it serves and customers on the app can also send money to multiple users of the mobile service, pay for insurance and buy tickets for buses, trains and concerts.

M-Pesa also has an open API used by over 45,000 developers and 200,000 businesses and collectively, over half a million businesses transact over US$7 billion monthly on M-Pesa.

Safaricom and Vodacom acquired the M-Pesa brand and platform from their UK parent firm Vodafone Plc to form the joint venture, M-Pesa Africa, in April 2020.

The two telcos plan to grow M-Pesa beyond the existing markets, with plans to establish in Ethiopia currently underway after a consortium linked with parent firms obtained a license to operate in the land-locked country mid this year. 

“We are delighted to celebrate this remarkable milestone with our more than 50 million customers across the continent,” Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, the M-Pesa Africa managing director, said in a statement. 

M-Pesa, which allows users to send and receive cash, and pay for goods and services even on basic feature phones, has powered Safaricom’s earnings in recent years.

M-Pesa contributed to about one-third of Safaricom’s service revenue in its fiscal year to March 31 or a representative Sh82.6 billion (US$750.2 million).

According to prior disclosures by Safaricom, about 28 million of the active monthly users were in Kenya as of March 31, 2020, meaning that M-Pesa has as many users in its secondary markets as it has in its home base.


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