Feb 6, 2012

Falling in Love with M-PESA

Many people, including my close friends and relatives have always asked me why I keep talking about M-PESA, why I just can’t shut up talking on and on about M-PESA. They want to know what my interest is with M-PESA. Some people even think that I work with Safaricom while some think that maybe Safaricom is paying me to promote their mobile money transfer service.

The answer to these questions is always the same; I simply love M-PESA. That’s all.
I fell in love with M-PESA in September 2008 when I used the service for the first time (read about my recent M-PESA experience here on my personal blog). The idea of sending and receiving money using a mobile phone just amazed me. Even as an average college freshman I could see and feel the social and economic value of M-PESA and the great opportunity it holds.

Ever since that day I have always read anything do with M-PESA.  The fact the service was the first of its kind in the world make me all the more willing to learn more about M-PESA and the opportunities it presents.

My undergraduate research project which I did last year was on how M-PESA is advancing financial access to the micro small enterprises in Githurai, Nairobi. I am an average student and I don’t think I did the research very well as my lecturer would have wanted it done. But I did it anyway. The lessons learnt from collecting primary data on usage of M-PESA were invaluable (but that is a topic for another day).

I finally decided to start blogging about M-PESA and that’s why I launched thinkm-pesa.com last year. I named this blog thinkm-pesa because I think about M-PESA a lot. Basically I just do it to stay current on the mobile money scene in Kenya and Africa in general (my personal blog petermwangi.com is generally about mobile money in Africa).

This blog has enabled me to connect with many people who are at the centre of the mobile money scene in Kenya. Foreign journalists from as far as Canada and New Zealand contact me asking me qustions about M-PESA. One of them did actually ask me to introduce her to Bob Collymore, the Safaricom CEO.
Myself with Bob Collymore

I attended MindSpeak (a local networking business club run by Aly Khan Satchu) for the first time so I can ask Bob Collymore some questions about M-PESA(I remember requesting him to follow me on twitter @peterafrica and he did). I have also met with Dylan Higgins and Ben Lyon, co-founders of Kopo Kopo inc courtesy of this blog.

with Ben Lyon and Dylan Higgins
Regardless of the career path I follow after college, my intention is to keep this blog going. When the first M-PESA bank account, M-KESHO, was formed I blogged about it (I had written the blog for sleeplesskenya.com awhile back when i had a blog i named corporatekenya.I no longer blog on corporatekenya.The article also appeared on MobileMoneyAfrica.com. Read the article; Banking Goes Truly Mobile). When M-PESA finally starts paying interest on deposits, I will be here to blog about it. We haven't yet witnessed the best of M-PESA.This blog is here to stay. Let’s talk M-PESA.