Local transactions by Kenya’s mobile money service, M-Pesa currently exceed transactions made by Western Union globally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports. According to the IMF, “M-Pesa now processes more transactions domestically within Kenya than Western Union does globally, and provides mobile banking facilities to more than 70 per cent of the country’s adult population.”
Launched in March 2007 by Kenyan telecoms operator, Safaricom, the service which now has over 14 million users in Kenya is currently the world’s most successful mobile payments system.
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As a testament to its power, millions of Kenyans used M-Pesa for social impact this year to raise millions of dollars to fight hunger in Kenya. Through the Kenyans for Kenya campaign, small donations as low as Ksh10 or about $0.10 USD were made by citizens in both urban and rural areas. Though the campaign had the goal of raising about Kshs 500 million (about USD $5 million) in one month, this goal was reached in only two weeks. As of September 2011, the campaign had raised about Kshs 672 million or about USD $6.7 million.
To replicate its success, the World Bank has since picked former Safaricom CEO, Michael Joseph to spearhead the expansion of mobile money transfers in its member states.
For more on M-Pesa, watch a brief documentary on the service below.