M-Akiba, are we there yet?

So M-Akiba, a government project to enable the mass market invest in government bonds via mobile money has been coming for the last one year plus is said to be finally launching this week. There was word that it would launch either today or yesterday. There’s even a flier for today’s launch, see below.

But we’ve been updated that the launch happens on Thursday 23rd. And even that could be postponed if we are to go with the journey it has been. I understand that the delays could be due to a tussle on who makes it on board to be the channel of delivery. Somehow the unwanted Airtel got in to the exclusive club. I could also add a speculation that more than Airtel wanted in, you know there’s at least two other mobile money players that are capable of being a channel. Technology could be a reason to delay as well, but that’s probably more minor than an actual tussle on who gets, who doesn’t.

Ironic because the whole point of this initiative is to increase public access to government bonds.

Yes. We are there… But I wonder how Kenyans will take this one. I have read I think elsewhere that theya re piloting with 150M only. This could be taken up rather quickly with the attractive interest rate of 10%. I cant simply wait to buy my share.Most challenging will be banks as they ahve taken flight from funding the public and instead taking up the more secure govt securities. Once the govt starts raising money from the public, they will have no alternative rather than to lend to the public.Interesting times for sure for sure.

I see Safaricom stands a chance to gain from this one more way, the raising of the daily transaction amounts.


“We are discussing with Central Bank of Kenya to see to what extent we can increase the daily limit to a higher amount to allow higher purchases. This is one way to allow as many Kenyans as possible to participate in Treasury bills, promote financial inclusion and boost our infrastructure financing,” said Mr Rotich.

Now what does not come out there is that Safaricom, with a higher Mpesa transaction limit, gets the advantage of better competing with banks which have higher limits. If you check Equitel, Pesalink and CBA Loop, they have transaction amounts all the way up to Kshs. 1 million. Safaricom is at Kshs. 140,000. That on it’s own makes a lot of difference when it comes to mid-to-high networth traders who move money daily.