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Mobile Money and the Travel Industry in East Africa

by Lisa Omwandho

Mpesa Payment Till - Image by techmoran.com

In March, 2007 when mobile money first made its debut in East Africa via Mpesa, the world was astonished at the advances Kenya had made. Nobody thought it would get as big as it is, or even that other countries would be scrambling to develop similar systems for themselves. Ten years later, Mobile money has affected every single sector and continues to grow and spread throughout not just Africa but the whole world.

The effects of mobile money transactions are many. In the travel industry, particularly in East Africa, it has facilitated the growth of numerous tours and travel businesses as well as making transactions easier across the board.

Mobile money is convenient. Sometimes referred to as the Master Card of East Africa. A great example is in Kenya where you can do anything from shopping to booking an air ticket using M-pesa. Fewer people walk around with large amounts of cash. You can be sure that any establishment will accept this method of payment which is much easier and more available than the traditional methods used by travelers which are Credit Card and cash. If you are booking your stay with Jovago.com you have the option to pay using M-Pesa in Kenya or MTN Money in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. This means you can pay for your getaway wherever you are, whenever you want.

Mobile money, because it is with the user wherever they go, has cut down on any time spent in crowded banking halls waiting to perform a transaction like sending money from one account to another.

The technology of Mobile money has also helped small business owners in remote areas save and accumulate capital without having to go to a bank. With features like M-shwari, people can save and even take loans to build their businesses.

Despite some banking institutions complaining that mobile money has depleted their customer base, some banks have opted to work with this technology to cater to a wider demographic. Mobile banking, a trend that is now picking up has greatly affected the travel industry. This makes it possible to transfer money to and from your bank account using the mobile money infrastructure.

Through 8 years of its existence, mobile money has single-handedly changed the way East Africans do business and it is safe to say that there is still much to come.

About Jovago
Jovago.com is an online hotel booking service with offices in Lagos (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya), Dakar (Senegal) founded by Africa Internet Group and has MTN and Millicom as investors. Jovago.com, Africa’s No.1 booking portal, facilitates the booking process for its users to provide them with the best hotel booking experience with fast, transparent and easy-to-use services. Jovago.com has over 25,000 local hotel listings across Africa and over 200,000 hotels around the world.

About Mwaniki Mutugi (370 Articles)
Noel Mutugi is a graduate of tourism management from Moi University, a tourism, travel & conservation enthusiast and a tour consultant at Kiboko Kenya Safaris (kibokokenyasafaris.com).