Africa's first mobile payment service, M-Pesa, is celebrating its 15th anniversary, having grown to connect 51 million customers and 465,000 businesses across seven countries.
Launched in Kenya on 6 March 2007 - originally as an idea part-funded by the UK Department for International Development in partnership with Vodafone - M-Pesa now processes more than 61 million transactions a day, making it Africa’s largest fintech provider, and it has attracted 42,000 external developers to create additional services for the platform.
With more people across the African continent shifting to smartphones, and using 3G and 4G broadband, M-Pesa is evolving to become a digital financial services provider. In 2021, M-Pesa Africa launched the M-Pesa Super App and M-Pesa Business Super App which enables any business on the service to run a virtual storefront providing their services through M-Pesa Mini Apps.
Nick Read, chief executive officer, Vodafone Group says: “M-Pesa is a great example of how a regional platform can evolve and grow to meet and anticipate customer needs using smartphone technology - from peer-to-peer money transfer, to payment of utility bills, to enabling the payroll of businesses, and to financial services such as micro-loans.”
Innovations supported by M-Pesa, include Fuliza - the world’s first mobile overdraft - M-Shwari which pioneered mobile only banking, the Pochi La Biashara wallet, and the M-Pesa Bill Manager
Read says more than 9 million customers and 320,000 businesses have downloaded the M-Pesa Super App since its launch, providing access to a broader range of services including savings, insurance and credit
In addition to the Super App, M-Pesa Africa is revamping the platform to support additional digital services, faster development of new products, and to achieve increased stability and reliability. The platform revamp includes expansion of the API suite to provide developers with deeper access to the service and the ability to create ‘mini apps’, where businesses can create their own platforms within the M-Pesa Super Apps.