How can mobile money provide services that alleviate poverty?

With Kenyan associate Safaricom, Vodafone launched M-Pesa. M-Pesa is the world’s leading mobile money service that enables customers to securely exchange money via a basic mobile phone. The service provides the poor and vulnerable who cannot access traditional financial services, with a safe, accessible and instant platform to exchange money for goods and services.


M-Pesa, meaning “mobile money” in Swahili is used by over 50% of adults in Kenya and its transaction volume is roughly equivalent to around 50% of Kenya’s GDP. Through authorised agents, Kenyans securely deposit funds into electronic accounts linked to their mobile phone which they can then transfer and pay for goods and services via text message. Deposits can be redeemed for cash. The service substantially reduces crime and corruption in an otherwise cash-based society.

Economic enabler

Thanks to M-Pesa, Kenyan businesses flourish. Businessmen such as Jedhinda, who operates a taxi service is paid by his customers using M-Pesa. He can then use the money accumulated in his account to pay for bills, school fees and for goods face to face in shops. M-Pesa agents themselves, who provide the facilities for people to convert electronic money to cash are too able to build their own businesses around the service.

10 years of impact

In 2017, M-Pesa celebrated its tenth anniversary. Since launching, the service has expanded beyond Kenya to provide access to financial services and infrastructure to more people. It now serves 30 million customers through 287,400 agents across 10 countries. A recent study found that M-Pesa has helped increase per capita consumption levels and increased household savings, particularly in female-headed households.

This story shows how Vodafone supports Goal 1: No Poverty, specifically Target 1.4: “By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance.”

About Vodafone

Vodafone Group plc is a British multinational telecommunications company, with headquarters in London. It predominantly operates services in the regions of Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. Among mobile operator groups globally, Vodafone ranked fifth by revenue and second (behind China Mobile) in the number of connections (469.7 million) as of 2016.

Learn more about Vodafone.

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