Safaricom has announced the launch of a Shari'ah loan facility in partnership with the Gulf Bank of Africa called Halal Pesa. Halal Pesa will be the first shariah digital solution in East Africa and available on the M-Pesa super App to all users or customers. Safaricom aims to reach the Islamic population of Kenya with the help of the Gulf Bank of Africa which is Kenya's Premier Islamic bank.
The prime focus of this project for Safaricom is to boost financial inclusion in East Africa with Muslims making up 39% of the region's population. A successful operation would increase Safaricom's customer base, especially amongst the Islamic community. Users will be able to take cheaper loans with a 30 days repayment plan, an offer that would give low-income individuals the opportunity to acquire credits as compared to the higher interest rates on other platforms like M-Shwari and Eazzy loans whose interest rate is about 7.5%.
According to Anuj Mediratta, the deputy CEO of Gulf African Bank the general goal is to pursue digitization for financial inclusion but the parties seek to reduce the dominance of M-Shwari in Muslim populated regions. For Safaricom, the priority remains to maintain M-Pesa as Kenya's Super App and take over the digital ecosystem in East Africa.
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