Masoko, Safaricom’s e-commerce proposition is expanding beyond Kenya anchored by the growing internet-based businesses where digital payments systems are becoming popular by the year 2020. This is on the backdrop of the expected growth of Smartphones in the region estimated to hit over 525 million users as at the end of next year.
“As a telco, we are purposed to transform lives by investing in technology and knowledge that will widen the reach of the possibilities they have witnessed in the last two decades to reach right across Africa, using that pocket- sized gadget,” Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Chief Financial Services Officer, Safaricom, said.
The announcement follows a recent partnership in March this year, where Safaricom signed a deal with Chinese run online store under Alibaba Group Aliexpress.com to expand its e-commerce reach in the country by allowing them to use M-PESA as a payment option.
According to Sitoyo, collaboration with partners such as PayPal and Google is giving M-PESA users in Kenya access to the global market place, opening up global e-commerce for buyers and sellers via PayPal, and allowing Kenya’s tech-savvy population to pay for mobile apps and games on the Google Play store via M-PESA.
Masoko’s vision is to democratize e-commerce by connecting customers and manufacturers to the online marketplace, in that way “Taking Africa to the world”. Our ambition is to use the platform to bring the market to small businesses wherever they are in Kenya, and to give them access to opportunities presented by the rapid growth of e-commerce across the globe.
Masoko was launched in 2017. “By leveraging the strength and reach of our network, our customer base and a number of partnerships with vendors, we hope to create a solution that can power the next phase of growth for the Kenyan economy. We hope to create a universal platform that will connect the smallest of vendors in Kenya to a nationwide market,” said Joe Ogutu, director – strategy, Safaricom during the launch.
In the spirit of innovation, Safaricom has so far opened its platform to over 16,000 Fintech developers to develop relevant products and services to customers.
Today, APIs are publicly available and SMEs can test and connect to our platform directly. There is a sandbox where they can be able to try out, they services after which they can apply to plug into the system formally. Depending on the SME and their technical skills, they can connect within 10 minutes to the M-PESA platform.