Mobile Money Takes East Africa by Storm

Hilary Heuler - Freelance Journalist


M-Pesa transforms small businesses, remittances in Kenya

Agnes Ngooro, a small trader in the bustling central market of Mombasa, spends her days sitting behind a wooden table selling trousers for a few dollars a piece, and while it may not look like it at first glance, she is an international businesswoman.

The clothes displayed on her table are manufactured in China and Thailand, and they arrive in East Africa in the region’s major cities including Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda.

“If I want to buy something from Nairobi, I send money to the wholesaler. When he receives it he sends me the goods,” Ngooro said on a recent day while tending her goods.

This may seem like a perfectly normal 21st century retail operation. But not so long ago, it was very difficult, if not impossible, for Ngooro to pull off. Like millions of people in Kenya, she has…

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