money transfers

Can the Success of M-PESA be repeated? A Review of the Implementations in Kenya and Tanzania

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Nov 02, 2009
Can the Success of M-PESA be repeated? A Review of the Implementations in Kenya and Tanzania data sheet 2709 Views
Gunnar Camner, Emil Sjoblom
Publication Date: 
Jul 2009
Publication Type: 
Journal article

This paper puts forward explanations and backgrounds to the remarkable difference in user uptake of the m-banking service M-PESA in Tanzania compared to the same service in Kenya. Data gathered from user and industry interviews, conducted during a field study in Tanzania between March-May 2009 is together with literature from Kenya used to compare the m-banking environment in the two countries.

M-PESA is provided by mobile network operators (MNOs), Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom in Tanzania. Both are the leading MNO in their respective country although Vodacom has a substantially lower market share and turnover compared to Safaricom. This simple fact resonates in many areas affecting M-PESA, such as: size of marketing budget, M-PESA's priority within the organization and the company's ability to quickly sign up agents and attract initial customers. Differences in the general economic situation, the geography and political history are also put forward. Kenya has a stronger economy, a higher GDP and a more developed banking system. This has contributed to the financial literacy in the country which is an important factor when communicating a service like M-PESA.

Among the differences between the two implementations, we suggest that the three most influential factors to the user uptake have been the two companies ability to transform their airtime distribution into an agent network, the marketing strategy which needed to be adopted to the specific settings in each country, and the geographical and demographic conditions.