President William Ruto has suggested the possibility of a collaboration between the global tech giant Apple and Safaricom’s mobile money service, M-Pesa, with the aim of expanding its reach. Speaking on Saturday after visiting Silicon Valley in San Francisco Bay, US, President Ruto revealed that this proposed partnership would also involve the integration of another international payment company, Paypal, to cater to a global customer base.
The President praised M-Pesa for its extensive presence across the African continent, boasting more than 51 million customers and operating in seven countries. He emphasized the significance of M-Pesa’s growth, particularly in light of Safaricom’s recent introduction of a 5G internet network, making it the fastest on the continent in terms of connectivity.
President Ruto also highlighted the upcoming presentation by Sitoyo Lopokoiyit on M-Pesa, emphasizing its transformative impact on payment methods, its challenge to traditional banking services, and its innovative solutions to transaction security issues. He underlined that M-Pesa serves as Kenya’s declaration to the world that it is prepared, capable, and eager to participate in the realm of major technology players. He noted that Kenya has one of the highest mobile penetration rates on the continent, nearing universality, and a 4G/5G coverage of 96%, connecting major urban centers across the country to 5G networks.
During his visit, the head of state held meetings with prominent figures such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, Intel’s Pat Gelsinger, Google CFO Ruth Porat, and executives from companies like Nike, GAP, and Levi Strauss. He encouraged these tech leaders to invest in Kenya, emphasizing the country’s conducive environment as Africa’s hub for startups. He attributed Kenya’s success in attracting venture capital funding to investor confidence, driven by the belief that a startup thriving in Kenya is well-positioned to expand throughout the rest of Africa. The President pointed out that Kenya’s innovation-friendly environment enables innovators to test their products effectively, which has contributed to substantial venture capital flows into the country.