Industry Trend Analysis - Masoko To Drive Safaricom's e-Commerce Transformation - OCT 2017

BMI View : The Masoko e-commerce platform will help Safaricom diversify the revenue-generating potential of its maturing mobile money service, M-Pesa, as well as broadening its appeal and addressable market. Successful adoption would see Kenya become a more prominent investment hub for regional e-commerce players, allowing it to catch up with peers such as Tanzania and Nigeria.

Safaricom plans to launch a marketplace-style e-commerce platform in Kenya by early 2018. The new offering, dubbed Masoko ('markets' in Swahili) will target third-party retailers and wholesalers that already use the company's M-Pesa mobile money service as well as over-the-top social media applications to buy and sell goods. We believe that, as a mature service, greater innovation will be needed to enable M-Pesa to become a more disruptive force in digital commerce and become a more sustainable business in its own right.

Over the last five years, M-Pesa has grown rapidly to become the leading mobile money service in South Africa, targeting hundreds of millions of consumers that lack access to formal banking services and leveraging the basic data services of ubiquitous mobile handsets. The service is also popular in Tanzania and Uganda, where Safaricom owner Vodacom is present and the latter is keen to see the service penetrate other markets in the region, where Orange, Tigo, Airtel and Etisalat mobile money services are becoming better established. Adding an integrated online marketplace to its trusted and secure payments system will make the platform a 'must-have' service for small, independent traders currently dependent on non- interoperable selling and money transfer platforms.

e-Commerce Players Should Prioritise Mobile Engagement
Kenya M-Commerce Trends, 2015-2017
Source: Communications Commission of Kenya

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