Global financial services company, Visa, and Kenya’s Safaricom have partnered on M-Pesa for payments and tech.
The arrangement opens to M-Pesa’s own extensive financial services network in East Africa Visa’s global merchant and card network across 200 countries.
According to a release by Safaricom, the two companies will also collaborate “on the development of products that will support digital payments for M-Pesa customers.
Safaricom’s M-Pesa app is arguably the most recognized fin-tech product in Africa and has become a global case study in using mobile money to increase financial inclusion.
The details around the Visa and Safaricom partnership are still vague but the partnership will facilitate online commerce.
A release by Visa stated that the two companies aim to “offer an expanded set of mobile e-commerce capabilities to merchants and consumers by enabling secure and convenient cashless payment solutions”.
In Visa’s 2020 Investor Day presentation, it disclosed its strategy to work with more African startups to expand its services. Some time ago it announced partnerships with Paga and Flutterwave. It also invested 200 million in Nigerian financial company Interswitch.
Since launching M-Pesa in Kenya in 2007, Safaricom has expanded the product to additional East African countries and has added to more services such as lending and small business services.
M-Pesa The product’s easy to use and allows transfers and payments on any basic mobile phone via SMS.
As one of the most well-capitalized and profitable companies in Kenya, Safaricom is no startup. But the reach of its M-Pesa network will certainly give Visa an extended presence in Africa. The partnership will also expand the global financial services offered to Safaricom’s large East African consumer and small business network.
Visa and Safaricom’s partnership is still subject to regulatory approval.
On a continent that is still home to the largest share of the world’s unbanked population, Kenya has one of the highest mobile-money penetration rates in the world. This is largely due to the dominance of M-Pesa in the country, which stands as Africa’s sixth-largest economy. Across Kenya’s population of 53 million, M-Pesa has 24.5 million customers and a network of 176,000 agents. The product’s mobile money market share in the country has hovered above 75% for years.