As Safaricom celebrates the 15th anniversary of its flagship mobile money service, M-PESA, Sitoyo Lopokpiyit, CEO, M-PESA, took time to chart the growth of the product as well as a few highlights about the company’s ambitions.
Sitoyo was keen to remind the world that M-PESA was the first fintech product, before even the term was coined, saying it came up in March 2007 as part of Safaricom’s mission to transform lives.
Since M-PESA, financial inclusion rose from 23% to 87% making Kenya top in Africa by this metric
However, there is a transition now to financial health where Kenya’s rate is below 20%
M-PESA proposition has transformed from simply sending money to broader payments service, and finally, it is positioning to be a lifestyle product
MPESA ecosystem has grown from a few 100 businesses to 2.6 million businesses that run on M-PESA
M-PESA now has both B2B and B2C operations
Bank accounts have risen from 5 million when M-PESA introduced the Bank feature in 2012 in Kenya, with over 40 million accounts being opened via M-PESA
Over $300 billion goes through M-PESA + banks ecosystem annually
With M-PESA rebranding to M-PESA AFRICA in 2021, the CEO recognized the opportunity for even more growth across the continent. He added that several African countries are also seeing thriving mobile money ecosystems – with COVID as an accelerant.
Some of the countries he mentioned include:
In its shift to become a lifestyle product, M-PESA is looking to grow its super app, launched in 2021, to become a platform where B2B and B2C users can go to, not just for MPESA payments, but to interact with other third party services.
According to Sitoyo, COVID-19 already accelerated how SMEs use M-PESA with 47% of SMEs now reportedly using the app for payments over the USSD product.
In that respect, M-PESA has an open API platform with over 42, 000 third party developers building in their ecosystem while targeting 300,000 across Africa as it seeks to create a broad playstore like ecosystem.