How One Bank Changed a Nation

Create a vendor selection project
Click to express your interest in this report
Indication of coverage against your requirements
A subscription is required to activate this feature. Contact us for more info.
Celent have reviewed this profile and believe it to be accurate.
We are waiting for the vendor to publish their solution profile. Contact us or request the RFX.
17 June 2014

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


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.