Tracing the roots of M-PESA


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Tonny Omwansa (sitted), the author of the book,”Money, Real Quick-The story of M-PESA” signing a book copy for the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, Dr. Fred Matiangi.(standing)

With 18.2 million customers and currently contributing up to 43% of Kenya’s GDP, M-PESA has been seen as a disruptive innovation that threatens incumbent businesses as well as sparking new businesses and entrepreneurship.

This has seen a duo, Nicholas P.Sullivan, a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Emerging Market Enterprises and Tony K. Omwansa, a lecturer at the university of Nairobi with funding from Rockefeller, trace the roots of M-pesa since 2003 up to date through a book that was launched yesterday at the Michael Joseph Centre.

The book dubbed as “Money Real Quick-The story of M-PESA” is the first book that documents the profound impact that Safaricom’s mobile money transfer services M-PESA has had on the lives of users in Kenya.

According to the book,M-PESA  platform  moves KES 77.3 billion a month in peer to peer transactions. A further KES 9.9 billion is moved in person to business transactions while person to business transactions account for KES 7.6 billion a month.

Using case studies, the book chronicles the evolution of M-PESA from its original concept as a micro finance tool to a complex financial transactions platform that is leading Kenya’s cash-lite agenda. The book features the accounts of those who worked on the service and how it grew to become the most successful mobile money solution in the world.

“M-PESA has earned its place as the most disruptive mobile money innovation and to date none other has come close. M-PESA has changed people’s lives in ways that could not have been envisaged by the people who created it and that is what we have captured in this book,” said Dr. Omwansa.

Launched as a simple money transfer service, M-PESA has evolved to a full payment service which now includes payment services and the Lipa na M-PESA service which is targeted at SMEs. Since launch last year, Lipa na M-PESA has so far recruited 36, 749 merchants.

“M-PESA has put Kenya and Africa at the forefront of ICT innovation and is a reference for many other countries that plan to implement a mobile money payment platform.M-PESA is indeed one of the ways that we have been able to fulfil our aspiration to Transform Lives,” said Safaricom’s GM of Financial Services, Betty Mwangi-Thuo.

ICT Cabinet Secretary,Dr. Fred Matiangi at the event highlighted the pivotal role M-PESA continues to play in supporting the financial inclusion agenda.

“By ccrystallizingthe M-PESA journey, this book will allow us to share with the rest of the world, this phenomenal innovation which has redefined the local financial landscape. M-PESA is a case study in the key roles that relevance and access have in resolving societal problems. Indeed, M-PESA has propelled Kenya to the pinnacle of global innovation and we as a country are proud of this landmark product,” he explained.

The book will be available to the public Amazon and Kindle.


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