Vodafone M-PESA has announced it has hit over 25 million active customers globally, 27.1% increase to 25.3 million in the year ended 31 March 2016, boosted by market launches in Albania and Ghana and supported by a network of more than 261,000 agents in 11 M-PESA countries.
In a statement, Vodafone Group Director of Mobile Money, Michael Joseph, said: “I am delighted and proud that M-PESA has reached the 25 million active customers milestone. M-PESA continues to expand, evolving beyond traditional money transfers to encompass savings and loans, payment of salaries and benefits, settlement of utility bills and school fees and to enable vital health and agricultural solutions.”
Launched in Kenya in 2007, M-PESA has continued to innovate, adding new features and services and entering into partnerships with public and private sector organisations.
Vodafone has entered into a partnership with the Ministry of Social Development in Lesotho to pay welfare grants using M-PESA. Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture is now paying fertilizer subsidies using M-PESA. In India, the National Rural Livelihoods Mission utilises M-PESA to enable financial inclusion for women’s groups and the National Rural Health Mission is using the service to disburse pre-natal health benefits.
In India for example, the launch of an M-PESA smartphone app enables Indian customers to use M-PESA to pay for goods on Ebay, for taxis with TabCab and to book train tickets on India’s national railways. Enterprises including Walmart are using M-PESA in India to improve cash management and business efficiency.
In Lesotho, Vodafone launched a service enabling customers to convert airtime to M-PESA credit to pay for emergency treatment. Also, hundreds of community health workers across seven hospitals and 67 clinics managed by Partners in Health are now paid using M-PESA and international children’s charity World Vision pays a portion of employee salaries using M-PESA.
While in Mozambique global development agencies now use M-PESA to pay employee salaries and allowances. Water, electricity and pay television companies in the country collect payments via M-PESA. The national carrier LAM also accepts M-PESA for air tickets.
In Kenya and Tanzania, solar firms such as Mobisol, Off-Grid Electric, M-Kopa and others use M-PESA to help provide affordable clean energy for thousands of rural households. Qatar Airways and KLM now accept M-PESA for air tickets from Tanzania.
Recently, Safaricom has partnered with healthcare finance organisations PharmAccess Foundation and CarePay to introduce M-Tiba, a mobile health wallet that channels money from donors and government meant for health services directly to recipients. Customers can redeem their savings digitally with cashless access to a network of registered clinics and pharmacies. The World Food Programme is using M-PESA to help deliver their food aid programme in Kenyan refugee camps.
The service has also seen global agreements to help reach more people across the world and help make money transfer simpler. Such was the deal with TransferTo and MFS For Africa, MTN Mobile Money to enable direct money transfers between M-PESA and MTN customers in seven countries across East Africa and the launch of international money transfer services in Romania, Lesotho and Albania.
There is also an agreement between Tanzania’s major mobile operators, including Vodacom, to enable their domestic mobile money services to be fully interoperable – the first market in Africa to do so.