Vodafone and Safaricom Kenya: Extending the range and reliability of financial services to the poor in rural Kenya

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Publication Date: 
01 September 2007
Winifred N.Karugu and Triza Mwenda
UN Millennium Development Goal: 
Develop a global partnership for development

Kenya has fewer than 2 million bank accounts serving 32 million people. To bridge the gap, Safaricom Kenya, one of two mobile service providers in Kenya, developed a technological solution in partnership with Vodafone. The result was MPESA, an electronic money transfer product to make financial transactions faster, cheaper and more secure. MPESA allows individuals and businesses to transfer money through the mobile phone’s short message service. Cash withdrawal and deposit are available at registered retail outlets to pay for goods and services. After the successful launch in 2005, Safaricom plans to recruit more financial institutions and retail outlets into the system and to expand it to other developing countries.

Citation: Karugu, Winifred & Mwenda, Triza. "Vodafone and Safaricom Kenya: Extending the Range and Reliability of Financial Services to the Poor in Rural Kenya." GIM Case Study No. A039. New York: United Nations Development Programme, 2008