NewsEast & Horn AfricaKenya launches phone-based bonds, tapping pool of small investors


Posted on Thursday, 23 March 2017 11:28

Kenya launches phone-based bonds, tapping pool of small investors

In this photo of Wednesday Aug. 24, 2011 customers make money transfers at an M-Pesa counter in Nairobi, Kenya, as others wait outside. Photo: Sayyid Abdul Azim/AP/SIPAKenya began selling its first mobile-phone-based government bond on Thursday, part of an ambitious plan to broaden the pool of investors in government securities.


The government is initially making a limited offer of 150 million shillings to test the system before a bigger offer in June, Finance Minister Henry Rotich said.

Governor Patrick Njoroge said the bond, called M-Akiba, allows people to invest as little as 3,000 Kenyan shillings ($29.20).

"This is a product that will dramatically improve the savings culture of our people," he said.

Treasuries in other emerging economies will be watching with interest.

Most would like to broaden their sources of borrowing beyond local banks and international financial institutions.

Bonds bought through phones

Kenya pioneered the use of mobile money in 2007 with M-Pesa, a money transfer service, by telecoms operator Safaricom.

The M-Akiba bond will be offered on M-Pesa and similiar mobile-phone financial services by other firms.

Investors will be able to buy the bond through their phones, where a record of their holdings will be stored.

Coupon payments will also be made through the phone.

M-Pesa allows users to transfer cash and make payments on even the most basic mobile phone.

In partnership with local banks, Safaricom has since expanded the service to offer savings, lending and insurance products.


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