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Safaricom, Western Union partner to form M-Pesa Global

Safaricom, Western Union partner to form M-Pesa Global

Safaricom and Western Union have established an alliance, called M-Pesa Global, through which M-Pesa users can send funds to over 550 000 Western Union agents globally.

M-Pesa Global will facilitate outbound payments via USSD (*840#) and MySafaricom Mobile app.

Speaking at the launch event in Nairobi, Richard Malcom, Regional Vice president- Southern, East and Anglophone West Africa at Western Union said that the use of digital currencies make up 12% of money transfers for the company.

He hopes this will increase through the alliance with M-Pesa.

"The capability is for any M-Pesa transaction to pay out in 200 countries that Western Union is present in today. This partnership is a game changer and a first for our company. This partnership will allow Safaricom to continue its financial inclusion journey."

Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom, said there are over 17 million daily transactions on M-Pesa alone, and the new service will ease cross-border money transfer.

"The service will enable us leverage on Western Union's 167 years of service which we can bring to our 21 million M-Pesa monthly users," said Mulinge.

While the service is subject to a daily transfer limit of Kshs 140,000, as per the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Mulinge confirmed that Safaricom is looking to increase the limit through consultation with the Bank.

Users in the UK, Germany and UAE will be able to deposit into bank accounts via Western Union. Other regions globally will have to process deposits via Western Union agents.

According to a 2017 report by WorldRemit, transfers to mobile money accounts make up 93% of the money transfer service's transactions to Kenya.

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