Ghana becomes the 11th country to benefit from the success and continued expansion of M-Pesa
M-Pesa is a system designed to be used on a mobile device, allowing the user to not only pay for goods and services but also withdraw, deposit and transfer money with nothing more than their mobile phone.
M-Pesa was launched by Vodafone in 2007 and was initially only available in Kenya using the Kenyan mobile network Safaricom. It has since expanded into other parts of Africa as well as into countries outside of the African continent.
The number of users and transactions continue to grow
M-Pesa has gone on to become the most successful financial service of its type in the developing world, giving millions of people their first experience of any type of formal financial system in parts of the world otherwise dominated by cash based societies. M-Pesa’s success is in part due to the fact it is a more secure alternative to cash, reducing theft and the risk of being exposed to counterfeit money.
M-Pesa currently has over 27 million customers who actively use their services across the world, with billions of transactions taking place every year. It is now available in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, India, Albania, Romania, Mozambique, Lesotho, DRC, Egypt and most recently Ghana.
M-Pesa in Ghana
In December 2015 M-Pesa launched its services in Ghana, a country where up to 64% of its population, equating to 15 million people, do not currently have access to any type of bank account, instead having to solely rely on cash transactions.
Michael Joseph the Director of Mobile money at Vodafone said, “Ghana is the last country in Africa where Vodafone has operations and where we had not launched the M-Pesa service.”, adding “We did a soft launch mid last year before having the official launch early last month. While it is still too early to talk about success rates, the reception so far has been impressive,”.
Since its launch, it has attracted approximately 280,000 users across the country and due to guidelines issued by the Bank of Ghana, the service is also now paying its customers interest on the balance of their mobile money wallets. The opportunity to earn interest is expected to help encourage other nations to more fully embrace the use of mobile money services. In the first 10 months since its launch, Ghanaian customers were paid $116,000 in interest.
There are currently six different mobile phone operators in Ghana, MTN is the largest with 15 million users, followed by Vodafone who have 7.5 million customers. Michael Joseph is however confident that the services offered by their competitors are inferior to M-Pesa. He said “Our main competitors all have versions of mobile money services but we are confident about the quality of the M-Pesa service as has been demonstrated by its success elsewhere,”. He finished by saying, “The strong demand for the service following the pilot launch in August shows that Ghanaians greatly value the freedom, peace of mind, security and convenience that M-Pesa offers.”
Pictures : pulse.com.gh and abacus.co.ke