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Safaricom, bank launch Sharia-based lending app

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa [2nd right], Managing Director of Gulf African Bank Abdalla Abdulkhalik [3rd from right], Deputy CEO Anuj Mediratta [right] and Safaricom Chief Special Project Officer Joe Ogutu during the launch of HalalPesa at Fort Jesus in Mombasa yesterday.[Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Safaricom and Gulf African Bank have launched a Sharia-compliant mobile app to cater for the Muslim population, giving borrowers yet another alternative money lending option to Mshwari.

The Halal Pesa app was launched jointly by Gulf African Bank Managing Director Mr Abdalla Abdulkhalik (pictured, left) and Safaricom Chief Executive Mr Peter Ndegwa in Mombasa yesterday.

Mr Abdulkhalik said customers accessing financing through the service will receive the amount requested in full with a repayment period of 30 days at a five per cent commodity Murabaha margin.   

He said the app was informed by the needs of Muslim customers who have been left out because most of the credit facilities were not Sharia-compliant. “Halal Pesa will empower M-Pesa customers who have previously been locked out of access to financing due to barriers such as lack of Shariah modelled mobile facilities,” he said.

The app will provide instant access to interest-free credit to all Kenyans, he added.

The maximum amount available on the platform will be Sh20,000 to start with, increasing gradually within a few days depending on a borrower’s credit score.“Our aim is to provide instantaneous access to interest-free credit through Halal Pesa. We are glad that we could partner with a like-minded partner like Safaricom to advance this vision,” Mr Abdulkhalik said.

The MD said Halal Pesa seeks to empower the community rather than making profit. Mr Ndegwa said Halal Pesa will enable Safaricom to deliver affordable and convenient M-Pesa services.

“Gulf African Bank is a strategic partner that will enable us to deliver affordable and convenient M-Pesa services such as Halal Pesa that are Sharia-compliant in accordance to the Islamic faith,” he said. The CEO said Safaricom remains keen on partnerships that enable it to provide a wide variety of financial solutions that meet the diversified needs of customers.