The separation of mobile money activities should allow the Central Bank to better regulate the growing Kenyan mobile payments market. According to statistics from the financial institution, the country had 70 million mobile money accounts as of August 2022.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) announced on Tuesday, October 11, the finalization of the process of separating Airtel Kenya’s mobile money business from its mobile phone business. Mobile money activities are transferred to the new entity Airtel Money Kenya Limited (AMKL) created for this purpose.
According to the CBK, the completion of the separation allows Airtel Kenya “ to demarcate its operations and focus exclusively on its mobile phone business ”. It will also enable the company to improve the governance of its mobile money business, strengthen its operations and offer better services to its customers.
The process of separating Airtel Africa’s mobile phone and mobile money business in Kenya began in 2019, according to the CBK. The financial institution says it granted a payment service provider (PSP) license to Airtel Money Kenya Limited on January 21, 2022, in accordance with the National Payments System Act 2011. Airtel Kenya was also granted a transition period to complete the transfer.
The other Kenyan telecommunications operators should separate their mobile money activities from their mobile telephony activities soon. Telkom Kenya is already considering the split, but the transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals. Safaricom, which seemed uninterested until now, may have to follow suit with its rivals. The CBK has started negotiations with the telecommunications companies and the remaining separations could be carried out as early as January, we learn.
This initiative is part of the implementation of the 2022-2025 national payments strategy, which aims to set up “ a secure, fast, efficient and collaborative payment system that supports financial inclusion and innovations that benefit Kenyans ”.