The portrait of Jomo Kenyatta was originally appeared on these coins between his reign during 1967 to 1978. Since we already use our phones as computers, it is not surprising that they could replace our wallets too. M-PESA literally stands for mobile money (the ‘M’ meaning mobile, while ‘Pesa’ means ‘money’ in Swahili). Prior to the introduction of M-PESA, many Kenyans did not have a secure service to transfer or deposit money.
The thing is in Kenya it does not make sense to have banks and M-PESA does not require them. In any case, M-PESA is a good example of how a service that does not cost much to use can still turn a large profit. Currently, there are over 85,000 M-PESA agents across the country and over 90 per cent of the population or 19 million adults use M-PESA. Not only is M-PESA a source of pride for Kenyans, it is an example for the rest of the world of how technology can be geared toward helping the greater good and expanding the economy of developing countries.
As Bob Collymore, Safaricom’s CEO explained in his interview with Stahl, M-PESA is a disruptor. However I think a mobile money app would be more disruptive in the West because it is not an app that has developed out of necessity but out of convenience (and perhaps laziness too). In 1980, this portrait was replaced with the Daniel Arap Moi and these coins circulated until 2005 when central bank introduced newly designed coins with the original portrait of Kenyatta.
We will most likely get there one day, but as of now we’ve only evolved to the point of mobile banking through downloadable apps, while cards and cash remain the norm.


What may be surprising is that most Kenyans don’t actually use a bank, but eight out of 10  Kenyans have a cellphone. The corporate answer is this: in 2006 a UK telecommunications group called Vodafone wanted to try out a mobile money transferring service in the unbanked market, so they chose to launch in through a company called Safaricom in Kenya. As CBS News journalist Lesley Stahl expressed in a recent 60 Minutes broadcast, most Kenyans living in the city would send money to their families in rural parts of the country by giving a bundle of money to a bus driver travelling in that same direction.
People can use their cellphones for almost anything including buying a purse in the market, paying for a taxi ride and believe it or not you can even buy cows with M-PESA. According to Stahl, companies like Apple are looking into designing apps that users can use to easily transfer money.
M-PESA is expanding and has launched in other places as well, including India, Egypt, Romania and Afghanistan. Like Uber or Airbnb, it disrupts other businesses and services and people’s demand for them.
This just goes to show how technology transforms, and sometimes disfigures Western societies to become obsessed with making their already-privileged lives more convenient.
Innovation does not necessarily mean the newest, sexiest or slickest phone, it means changes toward the better.
The coins of shilling were issued in the same year with denominators of 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 shillings.
The 50 cents and 1 shilling coins are minted in stainless steel while the 5, 10 and 20 shilling coins are bi-metallic. Once they arrived at the destination, the bus driver would give the money to someone who would be waiting at a specific spot.


It is also used to regulate payments for things like communal water pumps and solar powered electricity.
You’d think that the multitude of apps we already have would help us to do more practical things like pay for the bus or for groceries, but it has not happened in the rest of the world yet.
Currently, these notes feature a portrait of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta on the fascia and various economic activities on the backside of these notes.
They have embraced a system where currency can be exchanged through text messages using a simple service called M-PESA.
As you can imagine a lot of the money depleted before it even made it to its proper place and the system didn’t work very well. There are so many M-PESA providers around the country that the service has almost become ubiquitous. Normally it would takes days or weeks for people to pay these bills, now it can all be done through a few simple clicks on a phone.
It doesn’t even have to be a Smartphone, just your barebones basic flip phone, or anything that can be used to send a message on. In 1985, 1994 and 1998, the coins of 5 shillings, 10 shillings and 20 shillings were introduces respectively.



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