It’s Africa all the way, YES it is!

Quick quiz for you.

QUESTION: Which one of the devices below you think is most suitable for mobile money transfer transactions?

QUESTION: Which one of these shops below do you think will have a higher proportion of mobile payment transactions compared to cash/card transactions?

QUESTION: Amongst all the mobile transactions around the world, which continent do you think has the lowest online cash transfer fraud rates?

QUESTION: Do you need a bank account to send or receive money online?


I bet your answer to all the questions are wrong, so was mine.

While Google, Apple, Visa, American Express, Paypal, Facebook etc. are trying to innovate mobile payments and increase user base across America, Europe & Asia, there is a silent revolution that is happening in Kenya and Africa as a whole. Since its launch in 2007, M-Pesa is revolutionizing the future of money. M-pesa is the mobile money transaction feature by Vodafone Africa. I bumped in to M-pesawhile researching online and found it to be interesting and inspiring as to how M-pesa is changing millions of lives in Africa and is leading in the quest to define the future of money. It’s pretty straight forward, enter the cell phone number of the person you are trying to send money, enter the amount and send. That’s it. You can pre-load cash from one of the M-pesa franchisees in advance.

Today M-pesa or similar services are used literally for everything in Kenya and a lot of other african countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. Paying for taxi, to buy water, buy street food, buying vegetables, for professional services like legal, hospital etc…you name it. In fact, to the extent of people not carrying credit cards or cash anymore. I would not have been surprised if I was saying these things about San Fransisco or London or Tokyo but we are referring to some of the most remote villages in Africa that don’t even have proper health systems or in fact even proper toilets.

Let me share another interesting fact. Only 4 million people in Kenya have bank accounts but there are 20 million m-pesa subscribers. In fact, some villages run 100% on m-pesa.

After M-pesa was introduced in 2007, some of the leading multi-billion tech giants tried the same concept in Europe and America but the growth rate they are witnessing is far behind the acceptance rate what Africa is witnessing.

Above all the biggest benefit of M-pesa is that it is helping to improve the standard of life in Africa and bring in the much needed medical, health and life services to some of the remotest places in Africa.

This also opens up another question. Are we under estimating the user base in Africa and the innovation Africa drive in the future?.

It has always been about what is happening in silicon valley but now…maybe we need to pay more attention to the SILICON SAVANNA. Go Africa, go!

About the Author: For more information, contact Balakarthik Venkataramanan at LinkedIn Profile:

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