The Star (Nairobi)

22 November 2012

Kenya Ahead in Mobile Money

Kenya is ahead of the curve in fostering mobile payment services, providing fertile ground for adoption of international remittance services via mobile phones, a World Bank brief on global migration and remittances.

The country is ranked together with the Philippines, with the two having existing eco-systems of domestic services built around mobile phones. "Most other countries are much further behind at this point," the brief reads in part.

Safaricom's M-Pesa has been the most successful mobile money transfer platform, domestic and internationally. A revised methodology of estimating remittances in Kenya and Nigeria has increased the volume of remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa.

"In the past, data on Kenya's remittances reported in the IMF BoP (Balance of Payment) statistics were significantly smaller than data cited by government officials. We currently report the data by the IMF BoP," the World Bank says in the brief.

As of early 2012, only 20 per cent of 130 mobile banking operators globally offered international remittance services, in which major players are G-Cash and Smart in the Philippines, M-Pesa in Kenya and Tanzania, and Digicel in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Officially recorded remittances to developing countries are expected to reach $406 billion in 2012, up from $381 billion in 2011.

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