By Samuel Mwangi
As countries in Africa continue to encourage their citizens to move to cashless payments in an effort to control the spread of Corona Virus, Kenya has an edge over other countries as far as accessibility of financial services goes, thanks to Safaricom’s popular mobile payments platform Mpesa, which has made Kenya one of the world’s leaders in mobile money services.
Nearly anyone with a national ID in Kenya has access to Mpesa, including those in poor households and even in the most remote areas within the country.
Whether your phone is worth Sh 500 or over 100,000, access to Mpesa services remains standard.
According to data by the Communication Authority, the proportion of Kenya’s population with access to formal financial services rose to 83 percent from 75 percent in 2016, driven largely by mobile technology.
Kenya had 31.6 million active users of mobile money transfer services as of December 2018 with Safaricom’s M-Pesa taking the giant share (25.57 million users), followed by Airtel (3.77 million users).
GOK Cash Transfer Programme
The government is already banking on the Mpesa platform for its Cash transfer programme to vulnerable members of the society, which is aimed at cushioning them against the economic impact of COVID -19.
The fact that we have moved from food Aid to money Aid is such a big progress, given the logistical nightmare that comes with food distribution.
The overhead in food distribution usually eat up a huge chunk of the relief kitty considering the cost of transportation, warehousing and labour.
Families receiving weekly cash stipends will also have an opportunity to use the cash to settle immediate needs. Sometimes food becomes secondary to health .One can decide to use the money to buy medicine in the event that is the most urgent need at the time.
Increased Purchase Power
The cash transfer will also go a long way in helping communities economically. Assumimg 4000 households in Kibera Slums benefit from the cash transfer programme, this will amount to Sh32M per month injected into Kibera’s economy.
The increased purchasing power will see improved business activities and more money in circulation and the Mama Mboga’s, kiosks, barber shops, Posho mills stand to gain .
Food distribution would not have had the same effect
I have reason to believe that from now on this will be the modus operandi for government .We have probably added a new way of helping those in need ,effectively ,efficiently without waste and with least cost .
The Cash Trasfer Programme has been made possible through effective governance structures such as local administration, Nyumba Kumi initiative and data collected in the 2019 census.
We might not follow the same path followed by rich nations to achieve industrialisation, we will not reinvent the wheel either but we will get there in our own little way
Samuel Mwangi is a Brand strategist and Communication Expert
MPESA GOES GLOBAL