Zap, M-Pesa Lined Up for Global Awards of Kenya

Published on Tuesday 2nd February 2010

Kenya's status as an innovator in the budding mobile money industry has been boosted with the shortlisting of two of the country's money transfer solutions for global awards.

Zain's m-commerce solution, Zap ,and Safaricom's money transfers product, M-pesa, have been shortlisted for awards in the GSM Association's Global Mobile Awards, pitting the two pioneers of the service against a number of new entrants to the field.

The GSM noted that the flurry of new launches in the mobile money field has highlighted the economic relevance of products that allow people to transfer or perform simple business transactions using their phones as a financial medium.

One of the largest pools of mobile money users reside in Kenya, with over eight million users now transferring cash and paying bills using their mobile phones.

In the year since the awards were last held, over 50 new products have been launched in the field worldwide, posing a challenge for last year's winner of the mobile money service award, Safaricom.

Since it won the award last year, Safaricom has had to contend with the entry of Zain's solution, Zap as well as other product launches around the world.

M-pesa has also come under pressure on the regulatory front as it seeks to enact cross-border transfers even as it deals with the rapid uptake of the service in Kenya which has impacted on its network performance. Globally, the entry of new players has seen focus in the industry shift from simple money transfer services to more comprehensive mobile commerce solutions.

"The judging panel selected 105 nominees from across 18 categories from more than 500 high quality entries," said Michael O'Hara, Chief Marketing Officer at the GSMA.

Safaricom was also nominated for the Green Network Award, which recognises companies that implement environmentally friendly solutions in deploying networks.

The Global Mobile Awards includes categories for Mobile Marketing, Best Mobile Contribution to Social & Economic Development, the Green Mobile Awards and Mobile Entertainment, which includes awards for games, music and video, advertising and social networking.

Winners will be announced at a high profile awards presentation on 16th February.

The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.

The body says it is focused on innovating, incubating and creating new opportunities for its membership, all with the end goal of driving the growth of the mobile communications industry.


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