The end of 2012 saw the launch of a new innovative financial tool by the hands of those behind M-Pesa. M-Shwary was launched in Kenya to allow users to save and borrow money via their cell-phones, without the need of a traditional bank account.
Now, a few months after the launch, M-Shwari has crossed the Sh1 billion ($11.6 million) mark and threatens to take the place of more traditional financial institutions.
“We are overwhelmed at how well the product has picked up and the show of confidence from our customers. This product will clearly change the game in the local financial sector,” Mr Jeremy Ngunze, the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) chief executive told national newspaper the Nation.
Those behind this hike in subscriptions and savings are those in the 25 to 30 age gap, mostly already avid users of the M-Pesa platform. The high penetration of mobile in the country and the lack of a developed formal banking structure have put M-Pesa and M-Shwari at the forefront of financial inclusion in the country.
“We have adopted a different strategy from what other players are applying to increase their footing and reach to potential customers at the grassroots level. We believe this was the right decision because we now have easy access to millions of new customers given the level mobile penetration Kenya enjoys,” Mr Ngunze said.
M-Shwari’s success has pushed the platform’s developers to prepare its expansion to neighbouring country Tanzania.