Recent coverage on the blog brought us news on how Vodafone Fiji is pushing forward with a new mobile phone banking system. The front-runner for such efforts remain Safaricom in Kenya. Recently, they announced the launch of complementary services to the millions of users of M-PESA:
Safaricom and Equity Bank were joined by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki as they announced a new product called M-Kesho, an interest-bearing savings account. Kenya’s 9.4 million M-PESA users will have access to mobile microsavings, microinsurance, and other banking services with Equity Bank
The launch of these services represents a new level of sophistication in mobile banking offerings. Kenya is once again leading the way and showing how a mature platform can lead the way to even more complex financial products. Savings is the logical progression in this evolution and of critical importance to emerging markets.
As Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph explains, “savings matter at the macro level because domestic sources of bank deposits help mobilize money for investing and economic development (and foster less dependence on foreign funding flows).“
Money that was previously stashed under mattresses can now be harnessed and utilized toward investment.