Safaricom, Alibaba Group reach deal on M-Pesa payments

Safaricom, Alibaba Group reach deal on M-Pesa payments

The deal will see Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba that runs the portal’s payment services, offer M-Pesa as one of the payment options with transactions denominated in Kenyan shillings. Image credit: Alizila.com.

Customers of Kenya telecom giant Safaricom will now be able to transact business on Chinese e-commerce platform AliExpress (Aliexpress.com) using M-Pesa thanks to a partnership between the two companies.

Run by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Aliexpress.com is an online shopping portal for businesses and retail customers and is popular in many African countries.

According to Business Daily, the deal will see Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba that runs the portal’s payment services, offer M-Pesa as one of the payment options with transactions denominated in Kenyan shillings.

“The move especially targets microtraders in the country who source goods and other supplies from manufacturers in China,” Safaricom said in a statement.

“We believe that the mobile phone has the ability to pull down some barriers to trade by enabling global e-commerce, and this partnership with Ant Financial Services marks yet another important milestone not just in Safaricom’s efforts to take M-Pesa beyond Kenya, but to Kenya’s participation in the international e-commerce marketplace,” said Ms Sylvia Mulinge, the chief customer officer.

Safaricom, Kenya’s largest operator that is partly owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone, said the deal was part of an effort to transform M-Pesa into a global payments platform.

According to Safaricom, M-PESA processes 17 million transactions every day or 25,000 transactions per minute.

M-Pesa has become a major profit driver for Safaricom.

The integration of the payment system will be accessed via AliExpress app, which has not yet be made available on the web.

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