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Phone-based bonds tap small investors in Kenya
April 5, 2017, 4:50 pm
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Kenya last week began selling its first mobile-phone-based government bond as part of an ambitious plan to broaden the pool of investors in government securities. Finance Minister, Henry Rotich said the government is initially making a limited offer of 150 million shillings to test the system called ‘M-Akiba’ before a bigger offer in June.

“M-Akiba is about financial inclusion, we want to get as many Kenyans to be included in the financial sector. With about 23 million Kenyans now having mobiles, they can easily access this product and they will be fully participating in the financial system ,“he said.

Central Bank Governor, Patrick Njoroge said the bond, called M-Akiba, allows people to invest as little as 3,000 Kenyan shillings ($29.20). “The first time, we will provide securities, government securities to the entire population — a point where you can buy a security for as little as 3,000 shillings. It is remarkable, I don’t think this is something that we can take lightly,” he added.

Kenya pioneered the use of mobile money in 2007 with M-Pesa, a money transfer service, by telecoms operator Safaricom. M-Pesa allows users to transfer cash and make payments on even the most basic mobile phone. In partnership with local banks, Safaricom has since expanded the service to offer savings, lending and insurance products.

 

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