Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile network operator will be partnering with American tech giant Apple in order to expand its mobile money platform MPESA to reach the global market.
Kenyan President William Ruto hinted at the deal on Saturday, September 16, during a visit to Silicon Valley in San Francisco Bay, US.
The partnership is expected to integrate MPESA and Apple’s Paypal platform, a move that will boost MPESA’s transactional reach globally.
“Safaricom is developing a partnership with Apple Inc. to integrate MPESA and its Paypal platform to extend MPESA’s transactional reach globally,” Ruto said.
Currently, Safaricom and PayPal already have a collaboration that allows the transfer of funds between MPESA and PayPal accounts, a move that has been praised for facilitating international e-commerce.
Ruto lauded MPESA’s reach on the African continent, saying it boasts over 51 million customers and is established in seven countries.
He noted that the growth of MPESA was important in fostering connectivity following the recently unveiled 5G internet network by Safaricom which made it the fastest in the continent.
“The mobile money innovation has transformed payments, challenged traditional banking services, and innovatively solved transactional security issues,” he said.
“M-PESA is also Kenya’s confident announcement to the world that we are ready, able, and willing to play in the big tech league. Our mobile penetration is the highest on the continent, close to universal. 4G/5G coverage is 96 per cent, with major urban centres across the country connected to 5G networks.”
During the US tour, Ruto met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Intel’s Pat Gelsinger, Google CFO Ruth Porat, and executives from Nike, GAP, and Levi Strauss. He called upon them to invest in Kenya.
“The reason for Kenya’s strong performance in attracting VC funding boils down to investor confidence; the knowledge that a start-up that succeeds in Kenya is highly likely to scale to the rest of Africa,” he said.
“Venture capital flows to Kenya in large volumes because there is a conducive environment for innovators to test their products.”