M-Pesa is a Kenyan mobile payments platform, one of the first of its kind in Africa (pesa means "money" in Swahili). Jointly operated by British telecommunications company Vodafone and Africa's Safaricom, M-Pesa allows users to send and receive money through its agents, who act as "human ATMs." Like many parts of the developing world, Africans are significantly less likely to have bank accounts and credit or debit cards. But mobile phones have penetrated the African market, and in countries such as Nigeria and Kenya, the majority of people have a workable phone. The service has been a runaway success since launching in 2007, operating in 10 countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia and earning Safaricom 19.4 billion shillings (about $190 million) in the first half of 2015. It seems likely that as cell phone use continues to proliferate on the African continent, M-Pesa's transactions will grow, too.
public or private: Public
staff: M-Pesa has about 250,000 agents worldwide who act as human ATMs for M-Pesa transactions, and is available in 22 countries.
users: 13.9 million monthly users