Vodafone M-Pesa has more than 25 million active customers, marking another year of accelerated growth for the innovative mobile money transfer service.
Across markets in Africa, Asia and Europe, active customers of M-Pesa increased by
27.1% 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.
Vodafone Group Director of Mobile Money, Michael Joseph, said: “Since 2007, M-Pesa has enhanced the lives and livelihoods of people without bank accounts, giving them access to essential financial services through their mobile phones.
“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.”
Vodafone M-Pesa continued to innovate during the last year, adding new features and services and entering into partnerships with public and private sector organisations. Highlights from some markets included:
- Government Partnerships: 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.
- India: 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tanzania: Solar solution companies including 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.
- Kenya: 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.
Over the past 12 months, Vodafone has agreed a series of deals with partners to enable M-Pesa customers to transact with other services and across borders, including:
- Global Framework Agreements with two international money transfer hubs, TransferTo and MFS For Africa, laying the foundations for strong partnerships with other money transfer operators around the world.
- An agreement with MTN Mobile Money to enable direct money transfers between M-Pesa and MTN customers in seven countries across East Africa.
- The launch of international money transfer services in Romania, Lesotho and Albania.
- 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.