Will there be Another MPESA? - licence

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What were the critical success factors behind the M-PESA phenomenon, and why have they been so hard to replicate?

One of the first, and certainly the most successful, implementations of mobile money in emerging economies was M-PESA in Kenya. What started off as a pilot in April 2007 has to date ballooned into a system that is used by some 14,008,319 customers with a total of 27,988 agents, with mobile wallets being used by the majority of those customers as their current account into which salaries are disbursed and from which they pay bills and buy goods.

The success of the system has led to the realisation that collectively the so called ‘unbanked’ or bottom of the pyramid wealth is somewhat larger than previously realised.  Banks and other financial institutions have now realised this, and are also putting systems in place to try and attract these customers through their doors, whether they be actual doors to the banks, or using sub-agencies which offer similar facilities to those offered by mobile money agents.

This report explores the reasons for M-PESA’s success, the way in which the functionality has grown, in a demand-led manner, and discusses whether we will see another mobile money phenomenon in emerging markets.There is no shortage of mobile money implementation in most other developing countries in the world right now. To date we have seen other success stories, but none to rival the success of M-PESA.


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