M-Pesa, the mobile money transfer service, may be very popular in Kenya, but it has found it hard to crack into some markets. In Albania for instance, the mobile money transfer service could be terminated due to low uptake.

Vodafone Albania has reportedly sent a notice indicating it will stop offering mobile money transfer services from July 14.

This will affect nearly 250,000 users in the Southeastern Europe country who have until July 29 to withdraw their funds, according to Albanian news wire RTK Live.

Vodafone has not given an official explanation on why it is bringing down the curtain on M-Pesa in Albania, but sources said it was an internal decision.

A low uptake of the mobile service provided by Vodafone’s subsidiary Vodacom in South Africa was the reason for M-Pesa’s slow pick up in 2016. M-Pesa is the world’s most successful mobile money transfer service with 25 million registered users in 10 countries although over 90 percent of the users are in Kenya.

This comes even as Safaricom is looking at expanding its services across Africa following a deal in which Vodafone is to transfer part of its indirect interest in Safaricom to Vodacom.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore with the new ownership structure, Safaricom will start rolling out M-Pesa in more African markets. M-Pesa is already in 10 other countries and this deal will push it new markets under Vodacom’s large footprint across Africa from South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, DR Congo, Tanzania to Cameroon, Nigeria Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone.

Collymore says the firm could start rolling out its mobile money transfer service to the rest of Africa from as early as next year. He said the way was now clear for the rollout following the recent successful share swap by parent company Vodafone with Vodacom.

He added that most African governments were receptive to the M-Pesa concept after studying how the mobile money transfer service has been implemented in Kenya.

[crp]

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