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March 29, 2017 – At the Radisson Blu, Nairobi Upper Hill, a whole day event FT Africa Payments Innovation Summit with the tagline, ‘Enhancing interoperability, security, and marketing take-up’ took place.

Some of the notable speakers include Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore who used the platform to announce the planned slush of Lipa Na M-Pesa tariffs for merchants receiving payments. Collymore more also publicized the MySafaricom app, which now included M-Pesa functionalities. He also talked on the Kadogo tariff, which being expanded to include Buy Goods services under the Lipa Na M-Pesa.

Video of Collymore ahead of the FT Africa Payments Summit

At the summit, which brought together key players in the telecommunication, banking, and government regulators, key collaboration options between the telecoms and banking service we discussed.

Admittedly, when M-Pesa began some 10-years ago, there was little to no regulations put in place, but as the service morphed into a bank-like service. It made a lot of players in the traditional banking industry uneasy, with some accusing it of operating like a bank without all the regulations banks have to operate under.

The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) admitted though initially there were little regulations on mobile money operations in the country. The regulator has come of age and has put in place key regulations to check and regulate operations of mobile money service.

The CA also delved into the recent reports of separating M-Pesa from Safaricom following by stakeholders that the telecom has grown into a dominant player. Thus Safaricom being able to influence the playing field to its advantage while making the business environment unfriendly for the competition. The CA reiterated on the need to encourage innovation in the market and not punishing it, citing M-Pesa was a homegrown solution to the inability of conventional banking services to reach the masses. If the CA were to advocate for the splitting of Safaricom and M-Pesa will be tantamount to punishing the telecom for its innovativeness.

The KCB Bank Group CEO Joshua Oigara reiterated on the advantages of banks and telecoms complementing each other. As opposed banks trying to get regulators to ban financial inclusion services provided by telecoms. Oigara cited the KCB – Safaricom services, where the bank ported its services into the telecom’s M-Pesa service as KCB M-Pesa.

The KCB M-Pesa enables users to deposit funds into mobile wallet savings accounts, wirelessly transfer funds, and get loans right from their phone. Services the KCB Bank is now able to provide to customers, without the customers ever stepping inside the Bank’s halls.

The following is a summary of what was said and what happened at the FT Africa Payments Summit in tweets:

The conversations still continues on social media under the hashtag #FTAfricaPayments. You can join in or read through for more informations.

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