The current trend of social networks is moving in the payment space. First it was WeChat, then Facebook Messenger, and now with Safaricom.
According to Safaricom, the largest mobile tech company in East Africa, the new ‘conversational and transactional social network’ called Bonga, will enable conversations between family and friends and mobile money transactions.
The app, dubbed, Bonga Sasa, will enable more seamless conversations and communications with a deep M-PESA integration.
Unlocking M-PESA Possibilities with Social
The new Bonga service application has been developed by the Alpha Innovation team, which Safaricom set up in 2017 to enable the company innovate and offer new solutions based on market demands.
After researching on what people do on their payment and mobile network, Safaricom looks to provide an all-round pay, play, and purpose-driven social network.
The platform will roll out in 3 phases:
Bonga Sasa – The app will allow user conversations. Enable requesting, sending, and receipt of money.
Bonga Baraza – This will facilitate the collection of funds for purpose-driven events such as Harambees or fundraisings.
Bonga Biashara – This will allow users to capitalize on the network features by enabling the creation of business user profiles for selling products and services on e-Commerce.
According to Kamal Bhattacharya, CIO, Safaricom:
“Safaricom’s unique in that we have telco services and a financial services platform that connect nearly every household in Kenya largely on the basis of trade,” he said.
“We’d actually like to move beyond M-Pesa by leveraging its power as a social network to connect people to other product solutions.”
Looking Ahead with Bonga Sasa
Safaricom is looking to launch the new service in 3 phases with Bonga Sasa launching in a few months time.
App adoption is not always a walk in the park. It will be interesting to see how Safaricom moves to get the new app adopted across its 27 million customers. If the company is able to move the huge 69% of Kenya mobile subscriptions it holds, it would ultimately change how e-Commerce is done in Kenya via mobile money.