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Kenya's Mobile Money Revolution

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 26 December 2013

Kenya is the surprising world leader in high-tech mobile money. Almost a third of the country's economy now goes through the mobile phone-based system M-Pesa. Even the company that launched it six years ago, Safaricom, didn't anticipate the gusto with which Kenyans would adopt its virtual currency.
In a country with fewer than 10,000 credit cards and where four-fifths of the population does not have a bank account, M-Pesa has emerged as a secure and easy way to pay and transfer money to anyone, anywhere across the country, and even abroad.
Now the system has morphed from a method of payment into a platform for all sorts of businesses. In Nairobi there are startups aiming to boost fundraising for funerals and weddings, help landlords collect rent, loan mobile phone credit, and much more, all based on the M-Pesa system. And alongside the flowering of new businesses, the Kenyan government has pinned its hopes on the high-tech sector for the future of the country's economic growth.
Peter Day talks to traces the story of how a mobile payment experiment kick-started an emerging tech economy.

Bob Collymore - chief executive, Safaricom
David Mark - co-founder, M-Changa
Kamau Wanyoike - director, MoVAS
Nancy Wang - co-founder, M-Kazi
Duncan Muchangi - co-founder, Manyatta Rent
Nikolai Barnwell - director, 88mph Nairobi
Joe Mucheru - Sub-Saharan ambassador, Google
Tony Mwai - general manager, IBM East Africa
Sam Gichuru - co-founder and director, Nailab
Kate Kiguru - co-founder and chief innovator, Ukall
Will Mutua - founder, Afrinnovator.


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