When a conversation about mobile money happens, Safaricom’s M-Pesa is always lauded as a successful example of execution done right. Failure to identify similar traction for many other mobile money services (be it other telcos, fintechs, or traditional banks) might cause many to fear that M-Pesa’s success may never be replicated again. M-Pesa is used by over 30 million Kenyans, equivalent to more than 70% of the adult population; and around 50% of the country’s GDP flows through it.
Operators (both in Kenya and in other countries) have done their best to imitate Safaricom. A noteworthy mention includes Africa’s biggest operator, MTN, which has rolled out mobile-money schemes in several African countries. However, mobile money services in other African countries are still playing catch-up.
Therefore, the questions put forward are: can other mobile money service providers achieve the same product-market fit as M-Pesa did in the Kenyan market? Or was the execution of M-Pesa business model shaped by a set of circumstances that aren’t necessarily available to other players?
It’s important to