Safaricom completes migration of M-PESA platform to Kenya and plans to open up M-PESA APIs

Safaricom completes migration of M-PESA platform to Kenya

After two years of intercontinental conference calls, eight test runs, and countless hours put in by 320 consultants, Safaricom has successfully completed the migration of its M-PESA mobile money platform to its data center in Kenya.

Safaricom expects to be able to provide better service, as a result of this migration.

The old M-PESA platform, known as G1 within Safaricom ranks, was hosted at Rackspace in Germany. The new platform is known as G2.

“We are alerted immediately on any issues and are able to resolve issues instantly instead of having to report back to Germany for resolution, which previously could take up to 30 minutes,” said Ken Okwero, Head of Products and Services Development at Safaricom.

G1 was known to experience a number of issues, such as delays in the cancellation of funds transmission when a user sent money to the wrong person. Such cancellations could take up to an hour.

“We can effect customers’ reversals more efficiently,” Okwero added. The new platform also should offer enhanced system stability due to reduced points of failure. G2 will enable users to enjoy a wider range of products and services on the company’s M-PESA platform, he said.

For developers, the inability to access the M-PESA API has been a major pain point. However, Safaricom has promised to open up its APIs, now that it has more system autonomy and can engage more developers.

“We are currently examining business case scenarios before we open up the system to developers. This will enable them to access APIs so that they can co-create solutions that run on the M-PESA platform and deepen the growing ecosystem around the product — this should be live in the next two months,” Okwero said.

Safaricom worked with IBM to transfer data from G1 to G2, with Huawei providing technical expertise.

Separately, Vodafone Group, which owns a 40 percent stake in Safaricom, has signed an interconnect agreement with MTN Group that enables mobile money transfer among M-PESA customers in Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda, and Zambia.

MTN said that, under the terms of its memorandum of understanding with Vodafone, the two companies will share best practices and work together to define the rules and standards of mobile-based remittances in Africa.

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