Bill Gates Foundation eyes Kenya mobile money with software


A Safaricom customer uses M-Pesa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is seeking to engage the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on the rollout of a free software that will enable Kenyans transact money across different banks and telcos.

Upon securing necessary regulatory approvals in Kenya and partnerships with industry players, the software — Mojaloop —would then be expected to connect the six mobile money providers and 44 registered banks.

“There needs to be someone in the driving seat to complete this project and traditionally we work with central banks. There are three projects typically driven by central banks in three different African countries looking to deploy Mojaloop on a national scale…we will see pilots this year,” Kosta Peric, Deputy Director for the financial services for the Poor initiative at the foundation told the Business Daily.

The foundation, which has also initiated talks with banking regulators in Tanzania and Nigeria, expects that interoperability will fill current gaps of financial inclusion for low-income people and women.

Mojaloop’s selling point is that it’s free, eliminating operating costs for banks that pay providers for the service.

The CBK in April said it welcomes mobile money interoperability due to its benefits to customers but requires that such transactions be secure and efficient.