M-Pesa: The good and the bad news

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The amount of money that Kenyans transact daily through M-Pesa is half of what it cost to construct the Thika Superhighway, latest figures from Safaricom reveal.

At Sh15 billion ($149,012,250 million), the sum is equal to the amount that the Treasury allocated

           M-Pesa: The good and the bad news

for military modernisation last year.

In a report the firm shared with the Sunday Nation, Safaricom says Kenyans made 4.1 billion M-Pesa transactions last year, which was almost double the 2.8 billion in 2014.

It says the number of M-Pesa customers in Kenya now stands at 21 million, meaning there were about 3 million new users in the past year.

The report centers on M-Pesa’s progress since its servers were moved from Germany to Kenya and a subsequent upgrade of the operating system.

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In a single second, the document says, the system now receives up to 900 transactions, which places M-Pesa in the league of the world’s busiest payment companies.

“Currently, we process 14 million transactions daily,” the report says.

This figure could evoke awful memories among Kenyans who used the service before April 2015 – when the system could only cope with 320 transactions a second – with operations slowing down on weekends and holidays.

On the downside, VODACOM will discontinue its M-Pesa mobile payment offering in SA at the end of June, the mobile network said in a statement on Monday.

“Vodacom’s decision is based on the fact that the business sustainability of M-Pesa is predicated on achieving a critical mass of users. Based on our revised projections and high levels of financial inclusion in SA there is little prospect of the M-Pesa product achieving this in its current format in the mid-term,” CEO Shameel Joosub said in the statement.

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The decision does not affect M-Pesa outside SA.

“In other markets where financial inclusion is limited and where there is a more supportive macro environment, M-Pesa continues to gain solid traction based on exponential growth in customer acquisition. Kenya and Tanzania are prime examples of this. It is important to note that this decision does not affect M-Pesa customers in Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique and the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), where the product continues to grow exponentially,” the statement said.

“Vodacom is fully committed to mitigating any inconvenience to customers impacted by the decision and assures all M-Pesa SA customers that their funds remain safe and readily accessible. We remain of the opinion that opportunities exist in the financial services environment and we will continue to explore these,” Mr Joosub said in the statement.

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