Safaricom's M-Pesa to Transfer 20% of Kenya's GDP in 2010

This is the bombshell that Erik Hersman tweeted about Safaricom's mPayment system, M-Pesa. Read it and then stop to think a minute about what that means for Kenya:

If one company moves 20% of country's GDP, and that company is not even a bank, just want does that tell you about the rise of mobile phone operators in Africa? Here are three thoughts that leap out at me:

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  1. For the first time, telecommunications companies are now "too big to fail" - they are such a force in a country's economy, they are now of strategic interest to national governments.
  2. With such success, mPayment innovation will be severely curtailed in other countries. Banks will demand to lead mobile payment processes - they'll not loose that much business again
  3. mPayments are now a business requirement, too many potential customers use it for a company to ignore it as payment option.

But don't think that Safaricom is resting on its laurels even though it owns the mPayment space in Kenya. They're now launching M-Kesho, which enables M-Pesa customers to perform basic banking transactions like deposit and transfer savings via their handsets
With innovations like this, 20% of Kenya's GDP may even be a conservative estimate.

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