Kenya’s Sa­fari­com Pi­lots Mes­sag­ing App

Africa Outlook - - News -

Sa­fari­com, Kenya’s big­gest tele­coms com­pany, is pi­lot­ing a so­cial mes­sag­ing app that will link to its mo­bile money plat­form in an at­tempt to move the Com­pany into the ap­pli­ca­tion busi­ness, the Com­pany said.

Bonga, mean­ing ‘chat’ in Kiswahili, will be in­te­grated with the Com­pany’s pop­u­lar fi­nan­cial ser­vices plat­form, M-Pesa to en­able the al­most 28 mil­lion of its users to com­mu­ni­cate be­yond send­ing money to one an­other, trans­form­ing the plat­form into a type of so­cial net­work.

The idea stems from the “hy­poth­e­sis that there’s an in­tri­cate connection between con­ver­sa­tions and transactions, pay­ments es­pe­cially”, Ka­mal Bhat­tacharya, Chief In­no­va­tion of­fi­cer at Sa­fari­com, said.

“It’s one thing to share in­for­ma­tion with some­body it’s an­other thing to make a pay­ment, to send money to some­body,” he said.

Bhat­tacharya said that M-Pesa users will be able to mes­sage each other on Bonga in three ways: user-to-user, user-to-busi­ness and fundrais­ing through “so­cial groups” much like the group func­tion on What­sApp.

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