Kenyan Mobile Service Providers Link With M-Pesa Payments Platform

Kenya, mobile payments

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

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

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

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

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

“We have over 400,000 merchants,” Safaricom Chief Financial Services Officer Sitoyo Lopokoiyit told the news outlet. “Over 11 million customers use this service on a monthly basis, and 100 billion shillings goes to this service on a monthly basis.”

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

See also: Ecobank Says Africa’s Payment, FinTech Future is Bright

In two decades, major transformations have taken place, from the rise of telco-led mobile money to the growth of automation across the industry, according to Osahon Akpata, head of consumer payments at Ecobank, who has seen many payment advancements first-hand.

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

At the same time as blockchain technology has spread, the use of cryptocurrencies is booming in emerging markets such as Nigeria, due in part to the challenges with foreign currency transactions, Akpata added.