Kenya’s leading telecoms company, Safaricom, has launched its long-awaited M-Pesa Super App, which comes with an offline mode and a mini-app functionality. The company also unveiled the new M-Pesa for Business App at a virtual event this week.

M-Pesa, Safaricom’s successful mobile money offering, was launched back in 2007. The service now has about 30 million customers in Kenya and helped improve financial inclusion in the country to more than 80% of adults, from 25%.

According to company executives, M-Pesa processes over 30 million daily transactions with a value of more than 1 trillion Kenyan shillings ($9.3 billion) going through the system. It also generates over Ksh82.65 billion ($771 million) in revenue per year.

Talks of an M-Pesa Super App began last September and over the last few months, Safaricom has been testing the app with more than 1 million customers in Kenya. As of the time of launch, over 1.3 million customers had already downloaded it while the M-Pesa for Business App has recorded more than 100,000 downloads.

Company data shows Safaricom has more than 8.5 million smartphone users. With many Kenyans switching from feature phones to smartphones daily, the launch of the Super App is timely, the company’s CEO, Peter Ndegwa, said.

Zero data? No problem

With the M-Pesa Super App, customers can use the M-Pesa service and complete transactions – send and receive money, as well as make payments – in offline mode.

“We have designed the M-PESA Super App to enhance our customers’ experience every time they use the service, providing them with a simple, fun, secure, and convenient digital solution,” Ndegwa said.

Safaricom also announced that the mini-app functionality allows customers to download ‘mini-apps’ within the super app. These mini apps help users helps them to complete tasks like ticket booking, deliveries, shopping, license applications, insurance, etc. from businesses, government agencies, utilities, and other firms. Over 40 apps are currently being developed to add to the system.

The mini-app functionality will enable and empower entrepreneurs with powerful tools to manage and grow their businesses, Ndegwa said during the launch. “Ultimately, our aim is that for every 1 shilling a business collects on M-Pesa, they should be able to make an extra 5 shillings.”

In addition to the mini-apps and offline mode, the M-Pesa Super App provides customers with a diverse range of features. These include fingerprint and face unlock; transaction authentication; detailed usage statements; as well as a “Send to Many” option, with which customers can make multiple transactions to different recipients but only need to enter their PIN or authentication once. 

During the launch of the Super App, the estimated 30 million users of M-Pesa were hit by an outage of the services. This disruption hindered payment transactions on the mobile money service. According to reports, Safaricom confirmed there was an outage and that they were working to resolve the issue.

Michael Ajifowoke Author

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