KENYA - Digital Money Success

Arno Froese

For more than a decade, Kenyans from the bustling capital of Nairobi to far-flung farms have had access to a digital payments service that was ahead of its time. M-Pesa, introduced in 2007 by Vodafone and Kenya’s Safaricom mobile provider, lets users send and receive money on their mobile phones, providing bank-like services for millions who had relied on cash and informal networks. 

Now, a coalition of nonprofits and tech companies including Google and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation want to repeat those outcomes worldwide by making it easier for developing countries to build real-time digital payments systems. They announced the formation of the Mojaloop Foundation, which will develop and promote a free, open-source real-time payments platform intended for nations and central banks. 

The initiative would help tie together a growing array of digital financial services. M-Pesa, which has expanded from Kenya to countries including Ghana, Egypt, and India, has inspired hundreds of imitators worldwide. But these largely privately-run systems are fragmented.

“Systems [like M-Pesa] are silos,” says Kosta Peric, deputy director of financial services for the poor for the Gates Foundation. That can mean friction and high fees to transact between systems. “Imagine a mobile phone system where you can only talk to people connected to the same provider. It’s useful, but only so much.”

Mojaloop-based systems are intended to be hosted by each country’s governmental or financial authorities. But because they use a shared standard, Peric says the systems could eventually become interoperable across borders, further easing the global flow of funds., 6 May 2020

Arno's Commentary

Books have been written, videos produced, and many articles published about the cashless society. Today, there is no longer a question about digital money; it’s real, it’s fast, it’s safe, and harbors in itself prosperity. This former British colony, Kenya, has a listed population of 53.527 million. 33.4% are Protestant, 20.6% are Catholic, and 20.4% are Evangelical, with 10.1% Muslim. Life expectancy stands at 69 years; per capita GDP is $3,500 (2017). Imports are listed at $16 billion, and exports $5.8 billion; that trade imbalance is typical for countries not functioning well.

But digital money, experts agree, could accelerate the economy by an estimated 6% per annum. Will it work? Time will tell. In the end, prosperity must come. This is required for the nations to closely unify and, in the end, ally with the god of this world.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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