We are committed to supporting financial inclusion through our products and services.
Approximately 1.7 billion people in the world still have no access to banking facilities, an issue that affects significantly more women than men3. In 2007, together with our Kenyan associate, Safaricom, we developed the first mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa.
This simple, secure, cheap and convenient solution is now offered to customers across seven markets in Africa: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania.
Our 2025 goal
Millions of people around the world are ‘unbanked’ with no access to a bank account or basic banking services.
A cash-based society has many inherent problems, from safety and skimming (falsely registered workers) to the inability to get money to people who need it without significant travel, no possibility of getting a loan to start or improve a business, accessing health or other kinds of insurance.
Without the ability to transfer money, the most vulnerable and impoverished communities are restricted from receiving and sending money, saving, or accessing loans and insurance products.
Finding ways to improve access to financial services and support entrepreneurship will bring significant social benefits and economic opportunities
As of March 2020, 41.5 million customers were using M-Pesa, with over 12.2 billion transactions made through a network of more than 431,500 agents.
With a mobile phone and an M-Pesa account, people on low incomes have more control over their financial affairs. It also reduces the associated risks of robbery and corruption in a cash-based society. Thanks to the development of additional services such as M-Shwari, M-Pawa and KCB M-Pesa, our customers can also save money through interest-bearing accounts and arrange micro-loans to help fund their businesses. M-Pesa is also widely used to manage business transactions and to pay salaries, pensions, agricultural subsidies and government grants.
In Kenya, only one in five of the population has some form of financial protection from healthcare costs*. Safaricom’s M-TIBA is a service that allows anyone to send, save and spend funds specifically for medical treatment using their mobile phone.
With M-Pesa, women can take greater control over their own and their family’s finances.
In Kenya, research estimated that with mobile money access through M-Pesa, 185,000 women have been able to switch from subsistence farming to business or sales as their primary occupation. In addition, the research also found that M-Pesa has helped lift 194,000 households, or 2% of Kenyan households, out of poverty. We estimate that 16.9 million women were actively using M-Pesa in 2018, accounting for 46% of our M-Pesa customer base.
Goal 10 of the UN SDGs is to ‘reduce inequality within and among countries’. Within this, target 10.c is to reduce the cost of sending remittances to less than 3% of transaction costs by 2030. This has already been met by M-Pesa in those markets where it has regulatory approval to offer outbound remittances.
In Kenya this year, in partnership with Western Union, we launched M-Pesa Global. This service allows M-Pesa customers to send and receive money across 200 countries and territories. M-Pesa also continues to expand its partnerships across the globe for inward remittances, helping migrants and their families receive their money in a fast, secure and convenient manner.
Our contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Reduce inequality within and among countries.
Our commitment to supporting financial inclusion particularly supports SDGs 8 and 10, which are focused on promoting decent work and reducing inequality.
We believe we can have the greatest impact on five of the UN SDGs through our networks, products and services and through the work of the Vodafone Foundation.
Learn more about digital society
Download our Annual Report 2020
which provides detail on our sustainable business strategy, approach, focus areas and progress