M-Pesa positions itself as Africa’s largest fintech with 50M monthly users

Woman charged with theft for failing to refund wrong M-Pesa transaction

M-Pesa has achieved 50 million monthly active users, positioning it as Africa’s largest fintech.

The mobile money service provider was launched 14 years ago and is now available in Kenya, Egypt, Lesotho, Ghana, DRC, Mozambique and Tanzania.

“14 years ago, we launched M-PESA to connect our customers to each other and to different opportunities. We are delighted to celebrate this remarkable milestone with our more than 50 million customers across the continent. As an honour to this achievement, we are reiterating our commitment and deepening our focus on more innovations that will further transform the lives of our customers,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Managing Director of M-Pesa Africa.

The milestone comes just 18 months after Safaricom and Vodacom launched the M-Pesa Africa Joint Venture to accelerate the growth of the service across the continent.

M-PESA Africa has equally been striving to deliver digital platforms as part of its focus to be the largest fintech and digital ecosystem across the continent.

Speaking during the official launch M-Pesa App in June this year, Lopokoiyit said Safaricom spends in upwards of Ksh.4 billion in the maintenance of M-Pesa annually.

The new app allows customers the function to send money to more than one recipient at a go, and can be used while on offline mode.

The digitization of M-Pesa function into an app will allow foreigners to pair their credit cards such as Visa and Mastercards to M-Pesa and be able to transact while in the country.

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“We have designed the M-Pesa app to offer a modern, fun and intuitive design that maximizes convenience and security. The fresh design eliminates error and enables us to add a host of new features.

“We have added security measures without sacrificing convenience. You can now choose how you wish to unlock the app either through your pin, facial recognition, or your fingerprint,” Sitoyo said.

In 2007, Safaricom and Vodafone launched M-PESA in Kenya as a way for customers to instantly send money to each other. For many customers, the service became their first and often only access to financial services propelling its fast growth and adoption across the country.

Subsequently, the service has largely contributed to the growth of formal financial inclusion across the continent which has gone up by up to 55  percent.

M-PESA’s second facet focuses on businesses by expanding its ecosystem to deliver innovative solutions across micro businesses, SMEs and large businesses.

These include an open API in use by more than 45,000 developers and 200,000 businesses, the M-PESA for Business Super App, the Transacting Till that enables businesses to go beyond receiving payments to making business payments, and Pochi La Biashara that enables small businesses to separate their personal and business funds. Collectively, more than 500,000 businesses transact more than Ksh.770.06 (US$7 billion) every month on M-Pesa.

Into the future, the service has been investing in new technologies and partnerships as it seeks to deepen financial health amongst its customers through products that encourage savings and lending, wealth management, and insurance.

The mobile money service has equally expanded its partnerships in an aim to boost remittances which empower customers to send and receive money across more than 200 countries and territories.

In 2019, M-Pesa was rated as one of the top 10 most influential financial projects in the world by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in its 2019 most influential project list.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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