A CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL JOSEPH

Late last year I got an email from a fellow scribe asking me about M-Pesa. He was more interested on how it works and if it was available in Europe.
I replied with a paragraph on the dynamics of M-pesa but I mentioned to him that due to Europe’s circumstance its highly unlikely for anyone out there to think of a product that works as M-Pesa.

Why? Was his question and the answer I got from the chief executive of Safaricom, Mr Michael Joseph.

A brief history of M-Pesa goes this way. The product was specifically meant fro the many un-banked Kenyans. Kenya has over 11 million people with mobile phones only 6 million have access to bank accounts.
Yet the growth of the mobile telephony is currently at 30%, which according to analysts will remain for about five years. Thus most companies in IT are looking at a ratio of 60% mobile subscription rate to the total population.
Well after trials in Thika in 2006 M-Pesa made its entry in march 2007 and Joseph had projected 1 million M-Pesa Users but that also was surpassed. Now users stand at 3.7 million.

In March this year at the World Mobile Congress, Safaricom won an award for the promotion of the most innovative product.

As is found in all ICT product ‘crowd sourcing’ is playing a critical role on how users are changing certain products. At the moment due to legislation money transfers over the net is nor allowed, however Kenyan have decided not to wait for government but to have payments of services and products on the net done using M-Pesa.

Such has been the changing face of M-Pesa, however with all good thing always comes with some criminal element. Due to the large amount of cash that M-Pesa agents carry, some have been victims’ robberies. Now insurance is coming to play which may ultimately be passed down to the consumer who will definitely pay for more for the service.

But as for now the product is M-Pesa is growing in leaps and bound and the mobile phone is now becoming a mobile wallet.

Ask Equity Bank they launched last week.

the video clip will be here next week

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