Western Union, Safaricom Team for
Global Mobile Wallet
November 14, 2018
Kenya’s leading mobile network operator and provider of M-PESA, a leading mobile
wallet, and Western Union have joined forces again—this time to unlock global
money transfers for more than 28 million mobile wallet holders, by leveraging
the Western Union® global money movement platform.
In a global first, Western Union will power Safaricom to scale money transfers
to more than 200 countries and territories. M-PESA Global, a newly optimized
feature will allow customers to send money from their wallet for pay-out across
the Western Union retail Agent network or directly via Western Union’s access to
billions of accounts.
M-PESA’s mobile wallet has revolutionized financial inclusion over a decade by
enabling millions of Kenyans to receive money from abroad, store and send money
or make payments locally, and leapfrog traditional infrastructure. M-PESA wallet
holders already have the option to receive money from around the world via
“Western Union’s global money transfer engine is powering Safaricom’s electronic
M-PESA wallet to send and receive money globally, while customers can choose our
multi-channel network to pay-out across the world. It is a unique integration of
our platforms to scale global connectivity and we commend Safaricom for breaking
new boundaries,” said Odilon Almeida, President, Western Union Global Money
“We believe this breakthrough collaboration with Safaricom will spur a world of
new possibilities for mobile financial service operators to directly scale
globally and provide customers with choice to send or receive money to and from
more than 200 countries and territories. It will become a model for opening a
world of global connectivity and economic opportunity for emerging as well as
developed economies,” said Almeida.
Safaricom has helped millions of Kenyans establish financial services on mobile
wallets within Kenya. More than 1.7 billion transactions are processed over M-PESA
annually, equivalent to more than 50 percent of Kenya’s GDP value.
“By opening up M-PESA to the world, we aim to enable a world of opportunity for
Kenyans by making it easy and seamless for them to connect with the world,” said
Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Chief Financial Services Officer at Safaricom.
“With M-PESA Global, Safaricom customers enjoy the benefits of a globally
connected world at the touch of the button, whenever and wherever they want to.
The world is at their fingertips, whether they are sending money to a loved one
overseas or receiving money from abroad.
Global reflects the evolution of customer needs in Kenya and Safaricom’s ability
to anticipate and meet these needs – from facilitating inbound money transfers,
domestic transfers across wallets, to now offering outbound, cross-border money
transfers by connecting to the Western Union money transfer ecosystem,” said
Western Union sees traditional remittance receiving countries as an opportunity
to become remittance sending countries, including: China, Philippines, Mexico,
Kenya. It reflects rising affluence and globalization of the native population
as well as an increase in international workers and their associated need to
send money abroad for a host of reasons, including education, travel and other
Kenya, a net remittance receiver at USD $2 billion, last year saw a 13 percent
year-over-year rise in 2017, according to the World Bank. During the same
period, outbound remittances topped USD $36 million, tracking similar growth
rates, at 13 percent.