It's setting up to be a busy four years for the Central Bank of Kenya. The regulating body intends to roll out a national payment system that would compel Safaricom's M-Pesa to accept payments from other operators. Having the most extensive and robust coverage, Safaricom is the largest telecommunication provider in Kenya. In 2007, the company launched M-Pesa, its mobile money branch, the most downloaded and used app in Kenya with a staggering five million-plus customers and over 50 million in Africa. In an attempt to lessen this domination, the Central Bank of Kenya released its strategy for 2022 to 2025 last week.
M-Pesa has a revenue of over 138 billion shillings which is not surprising considering its massive customers base that makes up more than 90% of the entire mobile money market—leaving the remaining 10% to Airtel Money and Telkom's T-Kash. The Central Bank of Kenya hopes to fragment this monopoly, giving Kenyans a multi-choice in the mobile money space. To be introduced in 2024, this new system would cancel limitations that Airtel or Telkom subscribers face when making payments, which would decline as long as these customers are not under Safaricom's network.
The Watch Dogs seeks to balance the country's financial service industry. The question remains how well Safaricom will thrive under strict policies and supervision. We predict that the telecom Big boys will work on trust to maintain and build its network of customers. This change implies the coming years will see Kenyans getting generous offers.
Kenya in focus
Population: 53.77 million in 2020 as compared to 52.57 million in 2019
GDP: $98.84 billion compared to $95.5 billion in 2019
GDP per capita: $1,838 in 2020 compared to $1,816 in 2019