Her Excellency Meg Whitman, the US Ambassador to Kenya, is an exceptional woman that inspires many. Right from the impact she achieved in the global tech industry and her amazing transition into diplomacy. Last week, it was an honor to host the Ambassador to a roundtable with key industry leaders and demonstrate the role that M-PESA plays in supporting Safaricom’s mission of transforming lives.
It’s impressive that she already knew about M-PESA and that she had been monitoring it after she invested in Paypal some time back. The conversations circled around our ecosystem as well as the work we’ve done and continue to do in driving financial inclusion, not just in Kenya now but in the region.
During the roundtable session, George, our IT Director (CIO), took time to showcase the department’s focus areas for our industry; particularly around economic empowerment for consumers and business.
Some of the key points he highlighted were:
- eCommerce and the work we are doing in regards to our M-PESA Super App in opening up opportunities such as the diverse Mini Apps that have been developed to run within it.
- The Fintech Community and the support we are providing through initiatives such as the M-PESA API, which provides the rails on which most of the solutions are buil.
- Creating indirect and direct employment and business opportunities for thousands of people through the enablement of trade and financial inclusion driven by M-PESA.
Away from the sector conversations, I had a particularly engaging session with Ken Wanjau of Twiga Foods. Their organization has been using M-PESA APIs for a while now and we have closely walked that long journey with them. They have been graceful enough to afford us a great avenue through which we can learn how to better the experience for developers.
I am glad that this is something that has truly made a difference to Ken and his developers since their use of the APIs has supported the growth of the business. Honestly, it was great to get that validation from him and to know that the work our team is doing is having a direct impact on our customers.
We exchanged ideas and deliberated about our upcoming plans such as our innovations around data privacy and why we need more organizations and fintechs to test our data minimisation algorithm. There’s a lot of value in integrating and using our API for integrations and also in partnering with us in ways that we can empower businesses to grow and to scale.
Here are some reasons why:
- We have a big and growing developer community
- We are doing a lot to improve the developer experience e.g. the recent webinar for Developers, the upcoming webinar of MiniApps etc.
- We are always looking at ways of improving the stability of our system
- We are empowering developers with the right APIs to make seamless experiences for their customers
If there’s one thing I picked from this week’s interaction is that we share a similar belief on at least one thing with Ambassador Whitman i.e Kenya can and should aim to become the technology hub of Africa. If everyone else seems to believe in our country’s capabilities this much, then why shouldn’t we?