East African Interoperability: Dispatches from the Home of M-Pesa

“Is it live yet? Have you checked?”

For weeks, these were the refrains around Nairobi as customers checked their mobile phones to see whether mobile money interoperability had finally arrived. Fortunately, the wait is over. As of 10 April, customers in Kenya can send money between the country’s two largest wallet services, Airtel and M-Pesa, without the intervention of an agent. Telkom’s T-Kash is planned to connect very soon. Ironically, Kenyans will still not see the option to send to another network on their phone menus. The service is available via USSD, but not as part of the SIM Toolkit. This means that users will need to remember a series of codes to perform the transaction (if they are aware of the service at all).

Photo: Jay Bendixen

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