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Safaricom launches M-Pesa Go for youth

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Kenyan telecoms operator Safaricom has launched a new mobile money service, M-Pesa Go, to provide teens and pre-teens with digital financial skills.

The service targets young people aged ten to 17 and equips them with the skills to manage their money digitally through the M-Pesa Go account.

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said that even though M-Pesa Go is designed for youngsters, it also allows parents or guardians to have oversight of everything their children are doing on the app.

"Leveraging the M-Pesa 'super app', we plan to introduce a financial literacy platform that will equip children with tools for managing money," Ndegwa added in a statement .

How it works

M-Pesa Go appears to be a trimmed version of the standard M-Pesa app and the telco said the new product aims at enhancing financial literacy among young Kenyans.

On M-Pesa Go, young users can send and receive money, to or from other M-Pesa and M-Pesa Go users. Account holders can buy airtime and bundles, and use Lipa Na M-Pesa payment services.

However, to safeguard users, the app also restricts them from services such as withdrawing money from agents as a user would need a valid ID and be 18 years or older to withdraw cash from an agent. M-Pesa Go users will also not have access to digital loans like M-Shwari and Fuliza.

Users will also be restricted from having access to forex payments and betting payments as it is illegal for persons under 18 years to gamble in Kenya.

How to apply

The M-Pesa Go service is the first teen-oriented service that the Kenyan telco has added to its M-Pesa platform.

Parents can apply on behalf of their children by providing a birth certificate and following the prompts on the Safaricom website. The parent must already have an existing M-Pesa account.

There is also the option of visiting any brick-and-mortar Safaricom store to complete the application. For that, parents need to bring their national ID or passport as well as the child's birth certificate. Once done with the registration, either online or at Safaricom outlets, they will be able to download and sign into the M-Pesa Go app.

Want to know more about mobile financial services in Africa? Check out our dedicated Fintech content channel here on Connecting Africa.

Parents will have access to an M-Pesa super app that will help them monitor their child's junior account as well as set transaction limits through parental controls.

One of the mini-apps available on the super app is Kodris Africa, the provider of Kenya's first-ever government-approved program for teaching coding, the statement added.

Parents with children who want to learn to code can now get a year's worth of lessons when they buy tokens through Safaricom's M-Pesa super app.

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*Top image source Image by tirachardz on Freepik

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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