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M-Shwari introduces loans to help customers acquire Smart Devices

Under the scheme, customers will pay for 30pc of the cost of the device, and pay for the difference in installments of up to six months. (PIX: Courtesy)

A partnership between Safaricom and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) has been forged and will enable M-Shwari customers acquire smartphones and tablets through access to affordable loans.

Dubbed ‘Smart Loan’, the product seeks to enable Safaricom subscribers to purchase smart devices through affordable monthly installments to remove any possible barriers to digital inclusion.

Under the scheme, customers will pay for 30pc of the cost of the device, and pay for the difference in installments of up to six months.

“As M-Shwari marks its second anniversary, we have taken stock of the lessons from this revolutionary mobile banking and loan product. Extending the loan proposition from monetary terms to smart devices is in line with shifting demand from our customer,” said Jeremy Ngunze’s the CBA Chief Executive Officer.

M-Shwari has been a major contributor to Financial Inclusion in Kenya, enabling the disbursement of loans amounting to KES 24bn, while maintaining a repayment rate of 97pc. It has attracted a customer base of over 9 million customers, who have registered deposits in excess of KES 135bn.

Following the pilot launch of the trial of the Smart Loan service in last year, Safaricom has sold over 6,500 devices using the service.

“Kenya’s smartphone penetration has been growing phenomenally over the past five years, but there are still many customers who are not able to afford a device. We believe that by coming up with this proposition we make it possible for customers to access the wealth of knowledge available on the internet,” said Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore.

Mr. Collymore said the move also fits in well with the ongoing rollout of Safaricom’s 4G network as the company works to increase the number of 3G sites in Kenya five-fold in the coming five years. The service is available for all smart phones and tablets available in Safaricom shops.

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