The Bank of Kibera…

mpesa

Financial services are naturally reluctant to venture too close to Kibera as the possibilities and pickings are rather slim. On the more driveable and part metaled roads Equity and Coop Bank branches have taken residence amongst the formalised, better constructed business that have established roots in fortified former grand-by-Kibera-standards houses. Security heavily beefed up and familiar brand logos offer hope of things to come as trickledown economics drip slothfully.

Entering the Coop bank under armed security reveals a glimpse of banking practices from decades past. A plastic-chaired waiting area, library-hushed, reverent in anticipation of teller time. Real clerks behind real laminated gun proof glass negotiating in hushed reverend tones whilst a lone internal automated teller hints of hopes to come. Every transaction, every statement, every request has a tariff rendering basic banking prohibitive for those most in need.

Ever resourceful, transferring mobile phone credit is an accepted if not glitchy way of transferring funds electronically to anyone with a basic 2g handset. ‘M-Pesa’ as a business has developed this to a usable but low grade banking service for the many. Sensing a lost tax opportunity on the informal low end economy the government proposed an increased levy on such transfers from 12 to 20 percent.*

* Source:- Kenya Business Daily Sept 18

coop
Co-op Kibera Drive
These writings are penned whilst in the field working with our friends who live and work in Kibera and it is hoped that they bring insight, understanding and a provocation that the status-quo is unacceptable. Please feel free to unsubscribe or share as appropriate. Any opinions implied or expressed are my own and names may have been changed for the sake of privacy.

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