Zimbabwe and Kenya lead the way in Africa's dash from cash

23 February 2018

Money Transfer

Efficiency and safety of mobile money has millions forgoing notes and coins

“Drunks love paying by M-Pesa,” the owner of a bar in a low-income area of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, explained drily. “It’s easy to get conned when you have cash.”

The well-known mobile money platform may not choose to commandeer this observation as a marketing slogan, but it does capture some of the reasons why M-Pesa is starting to shift Kenyans away from using cash.

M-Pesa – which references the Swahili word for money – offers efficiency and traceability. And if you lose your phone at the end of the night, no one else can access your funds.

Launched 10 years ago in east Africa’s largest economy, this much-copied platform allows users to send money between mobile “wallets”, pay bills and apply for loans. Nearly 28m phone lines are registered for M-Pesa, and more than 16m transactions happen on the system every day. Over 36m mobile money accounts are registered across all available platforms, making Kenya a leader in digital payments on the African continent.

But despite the ubiquity and convenience of mobile money “cash is still king” in the country, as the operator behind M-Pesa itself admits. Read the full article on The Guardian here.