Safaricom has announced that it is planning to expand its e-commerce platform Masoko to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa by year 2020. This is on the backdrop of an expected growth of Smartphones in the region estimated to hit over 525 million users as at the end of next year.
The announcement follows a recent partnership in March this year, where Safaricom signed a deal with Chinese run online store under Alibaba Group Aliexpress.com to expand its e-commerce reach in the country by allowing them to use M-PESA as a payment option.
According to the telco, the ambition for the Masoko platform is to bring the market to small businesses wherever they are in Kenya, and to give them access to opportunities presented by the rapid growth of e-commerce across the globe.
At the same time the telco has indicated that it has opened its platform to over 16,000 Fintech developers to develop relevant products and services to customers. It has made its APIs publicly available, and SMEs can be able to test and connect to their platform directly. There is also a sandbox where they can be able to try out they services after which they can apply to plug in to the system formally. Depending on the SME and their technical skills, they can connect within 10 minutes to the M-PESA platform.
Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Chief Financial Services Officer, Safaricom, had this to say, “We see endless possibilities for business beyond borders. We are currently reviewing our e-commerce proposition Masoko to ensure that we are positioned ready to take off. Through the mobile phone, and with its penetration in Kenya at 100 per cent, most families have access to at least one mobile phone, making it possible to use these devices as powerful tools for social and economic development.”