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What the future could look like for Safaricom's M-Pesa

What the future could look like for Safaricom's M-Pesa

Safaricom has indicated to the 26 million Kenyan customers who make use of its M-Pesa service to conduct upwards of 10.5 million in transactions a day, that innovations will emerge from upgrades it conducted on the platform over the weekend.

The latest upgrade takes place ten years after Safaricom launched the service in Kenya and two years after the company deployed a local platform to enhance the system's capacity.

Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom has confirmed that improvements to M-Pesa are in the pipeline and will be launched gradually over the next few months.

"The team had put in place measures to ensure a smooth transition during the upgrade, which will provide our customers and partners with more features and capabilities in the future," said Collymore.

Professor Njuguna S. Ndung'u, a university professor and Kenyan economist believes that while M-Pesa and similar products in Kenya and Tanzania have pushed the frontier of innovation and financial inclusion without compromising financial stability, greater collaboration between them is the new frontier.

"Cross-border payments and international remittances based on the M-Pesa technological platform have become possible aided by (Kenya's) National Payments Act, which allowed for standalone payments and settlement units including foreign exchange remittances."

In May Collymore revealed that he is aiming to lead M-Pesa on an expansion across Africa soon after Vodacom finalises its acquisition of the majority of Vodafone's stake in Safaricom.

Laura Petrone, senior research analyst at IDC told Mobile World Live, which organises the annual Mobile World Congress event where Collymore hinted at the expansion plans, said that the creation of an Africa-wide footprint has to be the next big goal for M-Pesa.

"Thanks to the already strong interoperability between Vodacom's network in Tanzania and Safaricom's in Kenya, the deal (purchase of a stake in Safaricom) would potentially boost Vodacom's position in the cross-border remittances market, which is increasingly becoming the new mobile money frontier."

Last month Safaricom announced the availability of revamped M-Pesa Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that make it possible for any developers to build and deploy their solutions on top of the platform.

The telco said this is expected to usher in an age of increased interconnectivity for M-Pesa, which will support a wider range of capabilities for several different partners at the time.

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