How One Bank Changed a Nation

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17 June 2014
Bob Meara

A Case Study of Commercial Bank of Africa’s M-Shwari Initiative

Abstract

Beyond M-PESA is M-Shwari, a 100% mobile, 100% STP mobile banking platform for the Kenyan mass market. In its first year, M-Shwari added nearly 6 million customers — dramatically improving financial inclusion for an entire nation.

M-PESA is likely the most well known and most successful mobile money transfer service in the world. Yet, few know the story of M-Shwari, the collaboration between Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom to extend M-PESA beyond mobile money transfer to a full-function mobile banking service for the Kenyan mass market.

In the report How One Bank Changed a Nation: A Case Study of Commercial Bank of Africa’s M-Shwari Initiative, Celent documents how M-Shwari was conceived, how CBA quickly built the platform to achieve first-mover advantage, and how it taught a nation to save money when no formal bank savings or lending facilities had ever been available to the Kenyan mass market.

Source: Commercial Bank of Africa

"Although M-Shwari was inspired by conditions unique to the Kenyan market, Celent considers it a masterful execution that should inform mobile payments initiatives in other markets,” says Bob Meara, Senior Analyst and author of the report. “CBA’s M-Shwari initiative represents both a terrific advancement in financial inclusion for Kenya and an impressive growth story for the bank.”

This report begins with an overview of Kenya and the much lauded M-PESA mobile money transfer service. The report then details the making of M-Shwari, how it built on the success of M-PESA, the project team, underlying technology, and product positioning and launch. The dramatic year one results are then presented alongside implications for financial institutions seeking to differentiate and make an impact.

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Insight details

Content Type
Reports
Focus
Innovation & Emerging Technology