The word ‘innovation’ has become an overused buzzword particularly in the tech industries, and sometimes it is misused. However, this word truly manifests itself, particularly within the African continent. No matter where you live, the chances are high that you have heard about how mobile-money transactions are transforming millions of lives across the African continent.
As a matter of fact, one of the earliest and perhaps the most successful mobile money innovations was developed right here in Kenya. M-Pesa, founded by the leading telecom service provider Safaricom back in 2007, and is now being copied across the continent and beyond.
In another equally as innovative and bold move, the Kenyan government has started a new initiative dubbed M-Akiba. This initiative will allow the Kenyan citizens to buy government bonds and securities straight from their mobile devices.
“We are developing the Treasury mobile direct program which we expect to launch in July 2015. The launch of M-Akiba bond will allow Kenyans to purchase government securities directly from the comfort of their mobile phones with a minimum investment of only Ksh. 3,000 ($31) compared to the current minimum of Ksh. 50,000 ($530),” said Henry Rotich, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Treasury during the reading of the 2015/2016 national budget.
“This will allow Kenyans to enjoy significantly higher interest rates on government securities compared to the bank deposits through a convenient platform with low entry threshold,” the CS added.
However, it is still not entirely clear if the Kenyan government is going to enable this service via an app or USSD services. Plans to launch this service began back in 2012 through collaboration between the Central Bank of Kenya and the World Bank.
As it was planned, “Potential investors will only need a mobile phone line and a subscription to a mobile money service, which will enable telecoms operators open an electronic account with the Central Securities Depository (CDSC) or CBK on their behalf.”
The Kenyan government hopes to increase its capital base at the same time helping potential investors that were locked out of investing in government debts, be able to do so.