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Many thanks to the Microfinance Club of New York and BNP Paribas for hosting a great event on M-Shwari!

We deeply appreciate the candor and humor of Michael Joseph, former CEO of Safaricom Kenya and current Managing Director of Mobile Money at Vodafone UK, and Isaac Awuondo, Managing Director of Commercial Bank of Africa, who had a rich discussion about the process of designing, launching and managing M-Shwari, which is transforming access to short-term consumption capital in Kenya. Moderated by CEO of First Access, Nicole Stubbs, the discussion shed a new light on the challenges and opportunities in financial innovation. 

M-Shwari: The Revolutionary Mobile Savings and Loans Product for Kenya

Many thanks to the Microfinance Club of New York and the Microfinance Business Networking Group at BNP Paribas New York for hosting us on October 10 for a discussion between Michael Joseph, former CEO of Safaricom Kenya and currently Managing Director of Mobile Money at Vodafone UK, and Isaac Awuondo, Managing Director of Commercial Bank of Africa. Nicole Stubbs, CEO of First Access, moderated the discussion. 

M-Shwari is a new paperless mobile savings and credit product launched by Safaricom and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) in Kenya.  M-Shwari is available to Safaricom’s M-PESA customers and allows clients to access a CBA account for savings (which pays graduated interest from 2% to 5%) and short-term loans.

This is a revolutionary product building on the phenomenal success of M-PESA in Kenya: money equating to approximately 43% of Kenyan GDP now flows through M-PESA and already 20% of the Kenyan adult population has opened M-Shwari accounts.  It enables customers to save as little as Ksh1 and to obtain immediate loans from Ksh100 (subject to satisfactory credit checks.

M-Shwari is paperless.  Any customer with an M-PESA account can access it straight from the customized phone menu. The CBA uses information from Safaricom (Age and ID or passport number originally supplied to M-PESA when the account was opened) and is also granted access to Credit Reference Bureau information and a new Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS) set up and maintained by the Government of Kenya.