Launched in 2007 by Vodafone and Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile network operator, M-Pesa has revolutionised the way money is transferred and handled in parts of Africa. Its name derives from “M” for mobile and “Pesa”, the Swahili word for money. As a mobile money service, M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw, and transfer funds all through their mobile phones. This service has provided financial inclusion for millions, extending far beyond traditional banking infrastructure.
Initially established to simplify the process of sending money back home, M-Pesa rapidly turned into a tool that offers a wide range of financial services, including loans, savings, and insurance. Its ease of use, requiring only a mobile phone, makes it accessible and convenient for both the banked and unbanked populations. The platform’s impact in Kenya, where it started, has been particularly significant, fostering a new way for people to manage their finances safely and efficiently.
Over the years, M-Pesa’s growth has been robust, expanding to various African countries and evolving into a comprehensive financial ecosystem. The scope of services offered through M-Pesa has widened, aiding in financial transactions for businesses and enhancing the financial stability of individuals. With over 50 million monthly active users, the platform demonstrates the dynamic role of mobile technology in empowering people financially across the African continent.