Kenya is pursuing significant digital initiatives to help become a thriving middle-income country by 2030. The East African country is a model for mobile banking adoption and other mobile innovations. Trulioo is excited to help and is enabling identity verification for Kenya in GlobalGateway to help develop growth opportunities for its 54.3 million citizens.
Surprisingly, the country has 59.2 million mobile connections, which is more than its population. That’s because many people have multiple accounts, switching between services to get the best rates. The internet penetration in Kenya is 40%, with most connections being mobile. The widespread use of mobile banking helps 83% of the population access at least basic financial services.
“Kenya has outlined a bold vision to establish a strong digital economy, and it has been a driving force in the fintech revolution in Africa,” said Steve Munford, CEO, Trulioo. “Its leadership in digital payments usage is laudable, and I’m sure we’ll continue to see more innovations stemming from their deep roots in fintech, as well as even greater participation in the digital economy.”
Mobile money pioneer
The high adoption rates of mobile banking and other mobile fintech services is primarily due to the success of M-Pesa. M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw and transfer money, as well as make payments with their phone via SMS (text messages) and PINs. This service enables transactions on inexpensive devices, instead of using mobile apps, which typically require a smartphone and a data plan.
Mobile money makes tangible differences in people’s lives. Paying utility bills via text message means no waiting in line or long journeys. Transferring money doesn’t require handing money to someone who can drive it to the closest bank or Western Union. Money is kept safe in an account, not hidden away in some unsecured location.
Due to its ease of use, low cost and widespread adoption by users and retailers, M-Pesa has become a powerhouse for financial transactions in Kenya.
Developing the digital economy
To speed up and extend the economic progress that Kenya is making, the government has created Kenya Vision 2030. The plan places a heavy emphasis on digital opportunities, with goals to offer digital services, improve infrastructure and promote innovation. Initiatives include fiber-optic communication lines, a digital literacy program, and task forces to investigate distributed ledger technology and artificial intelligence.
The government is also working on rolling out the Huduma Namba national digital identity system. While 38 million Kenyans have already registered for the system, the program has faced legal issues about data privacy and ongoing criticisms about the lack of inclusivity. The government considers the digital identity system a way to improve on the delivery of government services, improve job data to help grow the economy, and establish better security measures against fraud and other criminal activity.
With digital-friendly government policies, a population that loves mobile technology, and a thriving fintech ecosystem, Kenya is poised for remarkable growth. While the pandemic slowed down the economy, GDP growth of 5% in 2021 and 5.9% in 2022 is forecast.
For Trulioo, the addition of Kenya is another milestone in our goal to provide identity coverage for every person on the planet. We already provide coverage for numerous African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and South Africa.
Improving growth opportunities and financial inclusion has always been at the core of the Trulioo mission. With the addition of Kenya, Trulioo is taking a significant step forward to provide identity coverage for everyone on the planet and is looking forward to helping organizations expand there.