Kenya: Building the Cashless Future of Africa

Source: Cashless Africa,

Africa is poised to be a 3-trillion-dollar economy by 2030. Kenya, with the success of M-Pesa, has been the economic powerhouse of East Africa and has a goal to become a developed economy by 2030, Rachel Morrissey, Senior Producer at, shares.

The widely adopted digital payment system – M-Pesa – created opportunities for building complete digital systems with the aim of using technology to facilitate financial inclusion. GSMA emphasizes that mobile money can serve as a gateway to financial inclusion, enhancing the impact of international remittances on development.

Regional forces are setting a strong example of how efficient the economy can get with an effort to expand the adoption of electronic payments systems. Safaricom in Kenya reduced its merchant discount rate from 1% to 0.5%, and in 2017, the company launched M-Pesa 1Tap, enabling customers to pay via NFC technology using a card, phone sticker or wristband device connected to their M-Pesa account.

Despite significant obstacles to overcome on its way to socio-economic goals, Kenya offers an opportunistic environment that allows testing innovative solutions. Participants emphasize high literacy rates based on the history of the country and investments in education.

Additionally, Kenya has a very young population – 60%-70% of the population is under 35; well-educated young people that have access to fast mobile internet are driving digital payments. Developments that started in 2011 brought fiber cables into the country, breaking it into the era of high-speed internet, and building ubiquitous mobile connectivity.

The government plays an important role in taking the nation to the next level of economic efficiency and growth. In Kenya, people receiving remittances on their mobile money account can buy government bonds through M-Akiba, enabling the investment of remittances in the local economy. In fact, in Kenya, more than 250 government services are available digitally through the country’s e-government platform, e-Citizen. Over 90% of all digital payments on e-Citizen are made through mobile money.