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Role of Mpesa in Microfinance

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M-PESA was initially launched by Vodafone in Kenya in March 2007, providing a simple yet highly secure platform from which to send and receive payments.

Vodafone’s vision for this service combined existing SMS technology with the extraordinary growth in mobile phone ownership. Today M-PESA is a fully commercial service with over 10 million users across Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan and India.

Vodafone realised that mobile phones had the potential to deliver money in a fast, secure and low cost way, and that global growth of mobile phone use was phenomenal. Marrying the two could bring basic financial services to the ‘unbanked’; using their mobile phones, individuals could safely send money, purchase goods and services, and operate their businesses more efficiently. It would also help overcome the growing problem of theft, experienced by many forced to carry large sums of money, such as travellers or migrant workers. An alternative means of moving money was a clear and desperate need. When delivered, this would be a highly innovative breakthrough for Vodafone in a market adjacent to its core telecommunication activity, and a partner was required for its delivery.

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