Wireless operator Vodafone is launching M-Pesa, the hugely successful Kenyan mobile money transfer service, in South Africa.
M-Pesa was launched by Vodafone affiliate Safaricom in Kenya in 2007 and now claims over eight million users in the country. A recent study by Research & Markets suggests that more than 10% of Kenya's GDP now pass through the mobile banking service.
It has since been introduced in Tanzania and Afghanistan and now Vodacom South Africa has teamed with an unnamed local financial institution to target the 26 million people in the country without official bank accounts. Vodafone says only 60% of South African adults have bank accounts but mobile penetration is over 94%.
Cenk Serdar, director, mobile payments, Vodafone, says: "Mobile technology in Africa has already improved the lives of millions simply by allowing them to communicate far beyond their immediate surroundings. It is now set to transform the way we send and receive cash. The successful take-up of M-Pesa in Kenya has clearly demonstrated the demand for easily accessible, secure payment services particularly in emerging markets."