Innovation in Kenya is like. . .

Innovation in Kenya

Advertisements

My takeaways from E-payments panel at Connected 2016

IMG_1998

I was delighted to sit on an electronic payments and the future of cash panel at the connected 2016 conference. As co-founder and Chief Analyst at Umati Blockchain ltd., my invitation scope was Bitcoin, virtual currencies and the blockchain. It was great getting feedback from the audience, on what is wrong with Kenya’s cashless transition. A healthy nuance of talking points emerged from the mixed backgrounds of the panelists.

Here is a 30 min edited video of the panel session

These were my takeaways

[Read more…]

Uganda’s Mobile Money Censorship is a Testament to Bitcoin

Money as a form of Communication

The censorship of mobile money in Uganda during its Presidential and parliamentary elections, is a testament to the need for apolitical digital currencies like bitcoin. Money, just like media is a means of communication. Just as social media censorship riles up freedom activists, so should forms of censorship on money.

On election day, Ugandans woke up to no social media and no mobile money services. Nearly 20 million mobile money users were unable to access the service for at least two-and-half days.

[Read more…]

Why we should Slay Mpesa, and save the town

article2Kenya and east africa’s mobile money systems are overly reliant on Telco’s networks and SIM modules. The status quo is detrimental to Banks, Non-banking financial institutions and a whole host of digital token value services e.g sports betting and prepaid electricity tokens.

Telcos, now Mobile Money Operators, are a Banks wet dream. Peer to peer money transfers in Kenya almost always route through a mobile network operator’s SMS, SIM card and USSD channels; they are the gatekeepers.
[Read more…]

5 more things they didn’t tell you about m pesa

Cover Mpesa myths

Despite a fair number of attempts at elaborately fleshing out Mpesa for readers, in this article I outline 5 more things left out  by:

Claudia McKay & Rafe Mazer did an article for the CGAP titles “10 Myths About Mpesa: 2014 Update” – a follow up to a previous article by Claire Alexandre “10 things you thought you knew about Mpesa”. In both of these articles, 5 crucial things were left out that you should know about!

Mpesa is used on a contractual basis from Vodafone Group.

M-pesa is not a Kenyan invention, by any stretch. M-pesa is owned by Vodafone Group, was partly funded by the UK DFID, conceptualized by Nick Hughes – an executive at Vodafone – in 2003 and finally project managed by Susan Lonie – an m-commerce expert – from pilot to commercial operation.

A confluence of factors – fashionable sustainable development, microcredit prospects in East Africa and a willing mobile network operator, Safaricom – meant that Kenya was a hotbed for testing a pilot. [Read more…]

Pesabit #004 : Equity Bank & Safaricom Run Neck and neck over SIM Overlay

Safaricom Equity Bank Historical profit COmparison Chart

In the past 3 months, two juggernauts in Kenya have clashed over the introduction of SIM overlay technology into the market – Equity Bank Group (Bank) and Safaricom ltd (Telco).  Safaricom  Ltd.  the largest Mobile Network Operator in Kenya (67.9 % market share) while Equity bank is the largest bank by customer base (8 million +).

As the incumbent mobile financial services provider, Safaricom faces a direct threat to its dominant sway, MPESA from A controversial SIM overlay technology set to be introduced by Equity Bank into the market through its subsidiary Finserve. Equity bank made a strategic move in acquiring an MVNO license from the regulators, Communications Authority of Kenya. Through this license, Equity can venture into the cellular network business and more crucially, the mobile financial services business – MPESA’s turf.

By leveraging its proprietary ownership of the SIM, Safaricom has continued to lock out financial services firms from its service platform; effectively acting as gatekeeper. The trouble is

A single mobile device is not supposed to be restricted to a single service provider, especially when different service providers having the mutual business interest over a single mobile phone users

It is easy to see why it has been labeled a monopoly and followed by cries to open up their platform. The mobile phone is a clear winner as a form factor in East Africa. Knowing this, financial services firms have been itching to catch up after losing out years back to Telcos. [Read more…]

PesaBit #001: 7 Reasons why East Africa is a Mobile payments and FinTech HotBed

Image credit: abmagazine

Image credit: abmagazine

Kenya and broader East Africa will lead digital finance and digital currency innovation in Africa. Going forward, I expect financial services and Technology (FinTech) in Sub Saharan Africa activity in Kenya to tap into mobile phones and mobile devices as a form factor.

 

 

7 reasons why I tip mobile payments and mobile financial services [Read more…]