M-Pesa (phone-based system for person-to-person payments and micro-credit service)

M-Pesa (phone-based system for person-to-person payments and micro-credit service)

M-PESA, a mobile phone-based system for person-to-person payments and money transfers. M-PESA – M stands for mobile phone, and PESA is a Swahili word for money. We in the developed world take money transfer for granted, as is usually a very simple transaction, using an easily accessible service. But in a country like Kenya, where financial services are so heavily under-developed, it is very difficult, risky and expensive to send or receive money. M-PESA has not only made it cheaper and easier to send money, but it has also had a profound impact on the ability of Kenyan households to manage their money. It is basically a platform for making small-value electronic payments. Although M-PESA customers earn no interest on the balances in their accounts, many also use it to build small amounts of savings. Vodafone, led by Nick Hughes and Susie Lonie, were the brains behind the M-PESA concept, and Safaricom (Kenya’s dominant mobile phone operator) pursued it. Since its inception in March 2007, M-PESA has attracted over 13 million customers which represent over 50% of Kenya’s adult population, and now employs 28,000 agents spread all across Kenya.


Vodafone, local mobile companies, local businesses and service providers, citizens


Democratic Republic of the Congo