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Visa Connects to Africa’s Most Powerful Mobile Payments Network

The global financial services company and Kenyan telecom Safaricom have announced a partnership on payments and tech. The arrangement opens to M-Pesa’s own extensive financial services network in East Africa, Visa’s global merchant and card network across 200 countries. The two companies will also collaborate “on development of products that will support digital payments for M-Pesa customers,” according to a Safaricom release. The partnership is still subject to regulatory approval. Safaricom’s  M-Pesa app is arguably the most recognized fintech product in Africa and has become a global case study in using mobile money to increase financial inclusion. On a continent that is still home to the largest share of the world’s unbanked population, Kenya has one of the highest mobile-money penetration rates in the world. This is largely due to the dominance of M-Pesa in the country, which stands as Africa’s sixth largest economy. Across Kenya’s population of 53 million, M-Pesa has 24.5 million customers and a network of 176,000 agents. The product’s mobile money market share in the country has hovered above 75% for years.