Kenya is losing billions of shillings as mobile money outlets remain closed during elections

Kenya's economy is being deprived of billions of shillings due to the closure of mobile money outlets during the election period

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Kenyans have been for the past few days unable to deposit or withdraw cash following the closure of mobile money outlets and banking agency shops.

This following the election period where many businesses have remained closed to allow Kenyans to vote.

The closure of this mobile money outlets, and more so M-Pesa, has however had a far-reaching impact on the country's economy which has been deprived of billions of shillings from mobile money transactions that now account for nearly a quarter of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The few operators who opened only accepted withdrawals saying they had not replenished their accounts from the super agents.

“I am afraid to keep a large float (cash) should violence break and I lose everything," an M-Pesa agent is quoted by Business Daily.

The agents say that they'll resume business once the Presidential results are out; devoid of any post-election violence.

Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile money platform is now used by about 20 million Kenyans, equivalent to more than two-thirds of the adult population.

About 25 per cent of Kenya’s gross national product flows through it, making it a fixture in citizens’ expenditure.

M-Pesa and five other mobile money platforms namely Airtel Money, Telkom Money, Equity Group’s Equitel, Tangaza and MobiKash have 165,109 agents across the country.

Safaricom has 135,000 agents, accounting for 82 per cent of the total agents, and boasts 26.6 million registered customers — 19 million of whom are active users of M-Pesa.

The telecoms operator’s revenue from M-Pesa stood at Sh55.1 billion ($530.3 million) in the year to March, a 32.7 per cent year-on-year growth.

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