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M-PESA founders to receive Africa’s financial inclusion medal of honor


KAMPALA, Uganda 23 May – The co-founders of Safaricom’s M-Pesa are set to be honored by the Digital Impact Awards Africa for their contribution in financial inclusion.

Michael Joseph, the Managing Director of Mobile Money at Vodafone and previously, the CEO of Safaricom Limited, Nick Hughes Co-Founder M-KOPA and former Head of Mobile Payment Solutions at Vodafone and Susie Lonie Mobile Payments Consultant at SJL Consulting Services will receive Africa’s Financial Medal of Honor on 17th August at Serena Kampala.


In 2003, Nick Hughes who was then Head of Social Enterprise at Vodafone spearheaded sourcing finance for a project with the initial research idea and purpose to use mobile phones to pay microfinance loans in Africa which project is the root of M-PESA.

Susie Lonie, also from Vodafone was in 2005 sent to Nairobi to get the M-PESA pilot up and running. Susie together with Nick steered the system from a pilot to commercial launch. When the system went live in 2007, the CEO of Safaricom, Michael Joseph, drove the teams to scale and deliver the commercial and social growth of M-PESA driving the models for agent recruiting, incentives, float management.

The trio will be honored at the 3rd Digital Impact Awards Africa (DIAA2016). Other categories include; Digital Medal of Honor, Digital Inclusion Awards, Best Cybersecurity Practice Award and Digital Research Award.

In 2008 M-PESA reached five million subscribers more than all of Kenya’s commercial banks combined back then thereby demonstrating convincingly that mobile money would drive faster financial inclusion.

Mobile Money was then introduced across several African countries. As of 2015, Mobile money is now available in 93 countries via 271 services globally. The number of registered mobile money accounts is reaching a total of 411 million globally. Nearly 100 million new accounts were opened in 2015, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

“In light of their contributions to mobile money innovation, #DIAA2016 jury found it noble to present “Africa’s Financial Inclusion Medal of Honor”  to Michael Joseph, Nick Hughes and Susie Lonie,” said Innocent Kawooya, CEO of HiPipo.

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“Africa has witnessed very fast growth in financial inclusion as a result of the M-PESA innovation which the three noble medal winners natured during the last decade. As of 2016, a new financial sector is alive with a growing relationship between the telecommunications operators and banks.”

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