NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – Safaricom’s soon to be launched e-commerce platform will leverage on some of its recent investments and assets to deliver a differentiated online market in Kenya
In an interview with Capital Business, the company’s Chief Executive Bob Collymore says the recently released MPesa Application Programming Interface (API), for instance, will allow vendors develop payment solutions that will make transactions faster and efficient.
“The last API we had would take 60 days for applications to be integrated with MPesa. That was a huge frustration for businesses, big and small. The new API cuts that to three or four days,”
The e-commerce platform, known as Masoko, is expected to go live by October and will allow shoppers use different currencies and in multiple geographies.
Collymore says Safaricom has ventured into e-commerce to connect small businesses with consumers.
“We think there is a massive need for it both from a consumer to business perspective as well as from a business to business perspective,” says Collymore.
Masoko will compete directly with some established e-commerce platforms like Jumia and Kilimall, but Collymore says the platform is primarily for small businesses.
“The difference between us and some other players in the market is that we also want to work with tried and tested brands and merchants. Even if they are small merchants, we want to work with them to ensure they have quality products,” said Collymore, adding that these merchants are both from Kenya and outside the country.
Safaricom’s investment in on-demand delivery startup, Sendy, will partly answer Masoko’s distribution question as well as boost the startup’s expansion beyond Nairobi and Mombasa.