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Safaricom pilots social on M-Pesa

Safaricom pilots social on M-Pesa

Safaricom is reportedly conducting an internal pilot of a messaging app that will be linked to its popular mobile money service M-Pesa ahead of a planned launch later this year.

Kamal Bhattacharya, Chief Innovation Officer at Safaricom, told Reuters this week that an experiment of the social app named "Bonga" is founded in the idea that "there's an intricate connection between conversations and transactions, payments especially."

Bhattacharya said that M-Pesa users will be able to message each other, businesses and fundraise through social groups on the platform.

"Our future is to become a platform that enables business in Kenya as well as our consumers to do their work in a different way... messenger platforms are the most popular apps, the most popular approach on the internet today to bring people together."

News of the pilot and its function to enable mobile money recipients to chat to customers directly comes a week after Safaricom announced that its products support the Kenyan government's Big Four agenda by providing tools that power the 'Ease of Doing Government Business.'

Joe Ogutu, Director, Strategy and Innovation at Safaricom told attendees at the Fifth Annual Devolution Conference, where the telco made the announcement, that government agencies and counties that embrace the digital revolution can now maximise efficiency in serving the citizenry and benefit from sealing revenue leaks and improving record keeping and data analysis.

"Through technology, we are offering some great solutions to various challenges. We are happy that these solutions are supporting development on the Big Four agenda and across the board. I would like to reiterate that Safaricom is committed to transforming the lives of Kenyans and will continue to invest in innovation and resources that make this possible,"

Ogutu also announced the telcos partnerships with PayPal and TransferTo in a new service that will allow movement of funds between M-Pesa and PayPal accounts last month. The new service has opened up local Kenyan businesses to more than 210 million active PayPal users around the world in up to 25 international currencies, according to the companies.

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