Kenya's Mobile Revolution and the Promise of Mobile Savings

32 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

Date Written: March 1, 2012


The mobile revolution has transformed the lives of Kenyans, providing not just communications but also basic financial access in the form of phone-based money transfer and storage, led by the M-PESA system introduced in 2007. Currently, 93 percent of Kenyans are mobile phone users and 73 percent are mobile money customers. Additionally, 23 percent use mobile money at least once a day. New potential for mobile money has come with the rise of interest-earning bank-integrated mobile savings systems, beginning with the launch of the M-KESHO system in March 2010. The authors examine the mobile savings phenomenon, using data collected in a special survey in late 2010. They show that the usage of bank-integrated mobile savings systems like M-KESHO remains limited and largely restricted to better-off Kenyans. However, what the authors term "basic mobile savings" -- the use of simple mobile money systems as a repository for funds -- is widespread, including among those who are otherwise unlikely to have any savings. Holding other characteristics constant, those who are registered for M-PESA are 32 percent more likely to report having some savings.

Keywords: Banks & Banking Reform, Emerging Markets, E-Business, Economic Theory & Research, E-Finance and E-Security

Suggested Citation

Demombynes, Gabriel and Thegeya, Aaron, Kenya's Mobile Revolution and the Promise of Mobile Savings (March 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5988, Available at SSRN:

Gabriel Demombynes (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Aaron Thegeya

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics