Safaricom unveils teens M-Pesa app, inks deal on coding studies

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa, Kodris Africa Chairman and Founder Mwaniki Munuhe and Safaricom Acting Chief of Financial Services Boniface Mungania shortly after launch of M-pesa Go in partnership with Kodris Africa. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Safaricom has announced a partnership to promote the study of coding syllabus through the purchase of lessons on an M-Pesa mini App.

At the same time, the telco has launched an app to enable teenagers enjoy M-Pesa services.

In the deal, Safaricom has negotiated for a 50 per cent discount with Kodris Africa on licensing of coding lessons where parents will pay Sh9,860 instead of the annual subscription fee of Sh19,720.

 Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said the partnership is aimed at equipping learners with computer programming skills that are needed in a cashless world driven by the fourth industrial revolution.

 Mr Ndegwa said that parents will be able to buy tokens for a year’s worth of coding lessons through the M-Pesa platform and then activate them on a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer for their children to start learning to code.

 Coding is the process of converting human intentions into commands that computers can comprehend. The lessons will be presented to learners through an interactive online studio.

 “One of the Mini-Apps available on the M-Pesa Super App is Kodris Africa, the provider of Kenya’s first-ever government-approved programme for teaching coding,” said Ndegwa

 He added: “For 60 days, starting November 26, this year, parents looking to get their children started on the coding journey can purchase the licence from Kodris Africa through an annual subscription via the M-Pesa App and enjoy 50 per cent discount,”

 According to Mr Ndegwa, the online-based syllabus will now be easy to access for millions of learners.

 “When you want to buy goods, you need a mode of payment and this is the same for the coding syllabus. You will go to the M-Pesa App and pay for the licence the way you normally pay for Kenya Power tokens. Once you get the code, you log onto the Kodris Africa website, paste the code and your account will get activated,” said Mr Ndegwa.

It is projected that by 2030, 50 – 55 per cent of all jobs in Kenya will require some level of digital skills with the demand being primarily driven by enterprises adopting digital technologies.

Mr Ndegwa was speaking during the launch of M-Pesa Go at the Two Rivers Mall yesterday. ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo presided over the event. He said that M-Pesa Go will enable users to send and receive money, buy airtime and bundles, use Lipa na M-Pesa services, and access a customised version of the M-Pesa Super App dubbed M-Pesa Go App.

Safeguard users

In order to safeguard users from exploitation, the Telco CEO said that M-Pesa Go restricts services such as withdrawing money, access to digital loans, and betting or making forex payments.

“We are providing a revolutionary product designed for youngsters, but with oversight by the parents. They will be able to guide their children’s financial journey, as it contains monitoring and tracking features, and parental control features such as setting transaction limits,” said Mr Ndegwa

He went on: “To sign up for M-Pesa Go, teens will be required to have an active SIM card registered on M-Pesa with a valid identification document like the child’s birth certificate.”

According to Safaricom, over 84 per cent (3 million) of minors aged 10-17 years in Kenya have access to phones with lines registered under their parent’s or guardian’s details.

Mr Owalo, the ICT Cabinet Secretary said that Safaricom has played a big role in transforming the lives of Kenyans by fast-tracking access to financial services, adding that M-PESA has played a big role in Kenya’s achievement of over 83 per cent financial inclusion, the third highest in Africa.

“Over the years, the focus has mainly been on the adult population, and today, we are extending financial inclusion to the generation below the age of 18 years. This is a generation that has been born into technology, the internet, and a cashless world,” said Mr Owalo.

“As parents and guardians, we naturally worry about what our children are doing online, what they are paying for, and most importantly how they are spending their money. We have ensured that the children have access to financial services but under the close supervision of their parents.”

The CS also said that the government will increase connectivity across the country in the next five years to enable the digital economy to thrive.

Mr Owalo said they will connect over 100,000 kilometers of fibre optic cables to areas where the internet is not accessible, adding that they will open another 25,000 free digital hotspots countrywide to facilitate e-commerce among small and medium enterprises.

Already, the government has unveiled a pilot internet hotspot at the popular City Market in Nairobi.