By Nnamdi Odumody
Kenya’s Safaricom has secured a deal which will allow its Mpesa mobile payment service to be used for online shopping on AliExpress, a platform owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, as part of a move to expand its most profitable product beyond Kenya.
AliExpress will allow Kenyan shoppers to purchase goods from China through its website using Mpesa in a matter of weeks.
Under the deal, Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba that runs its payment services, and the world’s biggest fintech valued at over $100 billion, and processing over $20 billion annually, will offer Mpesa as one of the payment options with transactions denominated in Kenyan shillings. It will allow Mpesa users to shop on AliExpress without a credit card. The move targets especially micro-traders in the country who source goods and other supplies from manufacturers in China. This latest deal is part of the redesign to transform Mpesa into a global payments platform.
In November, Mpesa signed a deal with Western Union to allow Mpesa users to send money around the world using their cellphones. Mpesa was launched more than a decade ago to offer Kenyans without bank accounts a network to transfer money via mobile phones. It now offers a range of payment services, loans, and savings, to more than 21 million people in Kenya, and has been copied abroad.
M-PESA is a service that allows you to transfer money using a mobile phone. Kenya is the first country in the world to use this service, which is offered by mobile operators Safaricom and Vodafone. M-PESA is available to all Safaricom subscribers (Prepay and Postpay), even if they do not have a bank account. Registration is FREE and available at any M-PESA Agent in Kenya. The M-PESA application is installed on your SIM card and works on all handset models.
Similarly, Interswitch Group, Nigeria’s largest electronic payments provider, should secure strategic partnerships which will see Quickteller being used by Nigerians to send and receive money from Western Union, purchase products from Amazon.com and Alibaba.com in Naira. For the Chinese part, it makes sense now that there is a currency swap arrangement with China. This will help reduce the pressure on imports of Chinese products in U.S. dollars instead of the Renminbi.