Kenyan Banks Have Reason to Fear, Safaricom CEO Says

Kenyan Banks Have Reason to Fear, Safaricom CEO Says

ATLANTA – Kenyans
banks have reason to fear as M-Pesa, the money transfer service offered by
Safaricom primarily targeting the unbanked Kenyan populace grows in popularity,
the company’s CEO Michael Joseph said during an address at the 2nd Kenya Diaspora
International Conference and Investment Forum in Atlanta. “It costs you
Ksh. 300 to withdraw your money from your bank account,” he said.

only 40.5% of Kenyans having a bank account, M-Pesa has experienced exponential
growth to attain over 7 million customers as of July 2009.”In Western
Kenya, they will not sell you beer if you are not paying with M-Pesa,” he  told conference participants to loud laughter.
He said the total value of person-to-person transactions stood at Ksh. 210.27

The key
to his company’s success with M-Pesa has been the distribution network, a feat
not many in other countries have been successful when attempting to offer similar

Joseph said his company’s deliberate strategy to brand itself as a Kenyan
company has paid dividends as can be seen in the commanding market share that
the company enjoys. “We have always used Kenyans models and landscapes in
our advertising and branding,” he said.

success of Safaricom has however made it the company to beat. “All my
competitors tailor their marketing campaigns around how to beat us,”
according to Mr. Joseph.

Joseph’s keynote address also touched on recent developments following the
landing of the fibre optic network in Mombasa. There has been a 200% increase
in data usage, he shared with conference participants. He sees data as the next
big thing in mobile services in the country.

About Tom Gitaa Gitaa, Editor-in-Chief

Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dish Network satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.

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