Monday, March 03, 2014

Kenya's Money in the Past: M-Pesa Money Real Quick

This recently published book traces M-Pesa from its origins to the impact it has had on millions of Kenyan users. It has excerpts of interviews with insiders at Vodafone/Safaricom, Kenyan regulators, politicians, entrepreneurs, bankers, and dozens of other people, for who the service has had an impact on their lives.

While mobile money did not originate in Kenya, and the design of M-Pesa was not local, Kenya is the country that, for now, has extended mobile money far deeper than any country, and the book notes developments in other countries to emulate the success and scale of M-Pesa.

M-Pesa was the accidental outcome of a pilot project, but it is ultimately the end result of the hard work, partnerships (such as with Commercial Bank of Africa and DFID, but some broken at Faulu and Equity banks), funding, and decisions of some of the people interviewed. 

It's development process was not widely understood, nor was it universally popular, especially with bankers, who (like almost everyone else) did not forsee the ernomity of what M-Pesa would become in the lives of hithero unbanked Kenyans. 

The book was completed in 2012, a few months before M-Pesa made a bigger foray into the world of banking when, Safaricom and Commercial Bank of Africa launched a SIM based bank account called M-Shwari.

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