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M-Shwari was launched by Safaricom and the Commercial Bank of Africa/CFM-File

Kenya

M-Shwari has signed up 645,000 customers so far

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – M-Shwari, the market’s new micro loan product, has roped in 645,000 savers in a span of three weeks since its launch.

The product launched by the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom on average signed up 40,000 Kenyans daily since its launch on November 27.

Commenting on the latest data Isaac Awuondo, CBA’s Group Managing Director says that M-Shwari’s take up so far is laying the foundations of what is likely to become a revolution in the financial system and a sneak preview to the future and rapidly changing world of mobile banking.

“We are trying to encourage a savings culture. No economy can develop in an effective manner without a strong savings culture,” said Awuondo.

M-Shwari has received overwhelming support from the youth with those in the ages of 26-35 forming 43.5 percent of the current customer base.

Early trends indicate that more men at 68 percent are currently using M-Shwari to meet short-term obligations.

Kenyans so far have saved over Sh150 million through M-Shwari and loans currently standing at over Sh50 Million with healthy repayment trends already noted.

“We are going beyond the brick and mortar concept of banking and enabling Kenyans to join the world of finance with a mobile phone,” Awuondo said.

M-Shwari makes it possible for customers to save as little as Sh1 and earn interest rate of up to five percent, while eligible borrowers seeking amounts for as little as Sh100 will be charged a one-time processing fee of 7.5 percent.

By saving with M-Shwari, customers will increase the loan amounts that they can borrow.

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Safaricom is however facing a lawsuit from Faulu Kenya which is alleging the infringement of intellectual property rights.

This week, Safaricom refuted the claims, saying M-Shwari was the result of two-year product development process, which followed the due legal process as required by the Laws of Kenya.

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