Kenyan mobile money and the hype of messy statistics

By Susan Johnson

The hype around the success of mobile money in Kenya has been growing as mobile payments develop both there and worldwide. This week’s Economist cites a figure that 43% of Kenyan GDP is being channelled through M-Pesa each year, attributing the statistic to Safaricom itself. The figure has been rising from 31% last year, which was cited by both The Economist and the Financial Times. In August 2013, GSM Association released an infographic on “The Kenyan Journey to Digital Financial Inclusion”, which also used the 31% figure. The World Bank, CGAP, AFI and others have also used or cited such measures of progress in this field. Continue reading

Complementary currencies – contrasting fates?: M-Pesa and Bangla Pesa in Kenya

By Susan Johnson

M-Pesa in Kenya is lauded as the world’s leading example of a mobile money transfer service. Users walk into an agent’s shop and hand over Kenyan shillings, in return for which e-value is loaded onto their mobile phone at a one-for-one exchange rate. The menu in the phone is then Continue reading