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Kenyan bankers’ mobile payment platform
to be fully operational by June

By Ronald Njoroge NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan bankers’ mobile payment platform will be fully operational by June, officials said on Monday, amid complaints that the country’s banks are losing customers and revenues to popular mobile transactions.

Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) CEO Habil Olaka told a media briefing in Nairobi that the platform that was launched in February has so far enrolled 1 million customers.

“So far 23 out of the 43 operational banks have rolled out the platform successfully to their clients so the platform should be fully operational by June,” Olaka said when the KBA signed a partnership agreement with the Kenya Community Development Foundation.

The PesaLink digital platform will enable bank customers to transfers funds to other bank accounts instantaneously from their mobile phones.

The CEO said that the digital system is part of a raft of technologies that the banking sector is deploying in order to increase their efficiency.

Last year, Kenya passed a law that capped the interest rate that commercial banks could charge for loans.

The law has reportedly negatively impacted on the profitability of the banking sector, forcing the sector to seek interventions to reverse the decline of revenue.

Olaka said that the PesaLink will help to fend off competition from the popular mobile money transfer systems.



Kenyan banks urged to embrace Chinese Yuan

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s umbrella body of the banking industry is encouraging its members to embrace the Chinese Yuan due to the increasing importance of the Chinese economy globally, officials said on Monday.

Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) CEO Habil Olaka told journalists in Nairobi that China has become one of the biggest trading partners of Kenya.

“As a result, Kenyan banks should facilitate the conversion of the Chinese Yuan to the Kenya shilling in order to facilitate the growth of the Sino-Kenyan trade,” Olaka said.

The bankers lobby is urging its 43 members as well as microfinance banks to ensure that Chinese and Kenyan traders can access the Chinese currency.

Previously, in order for Kenyan traders to buy goods from China, they had to convert the Kenyan shilling to the foreign currency such as the U.S. dollars and then convert the dollar to the Chinese Yuan so that they can pay their Chinese supplier.

Olaka said that the process costs Kenyan traders a lot of fees in terms of commission.

He noted that the convertibility of the Yuan into the local currency will also ease the process of the Chinese community based in Kenya in sending money back to their home country.

A number of banks already have the Chinese Yuan available over their bank counters.

Olaka noted that the easy convertibility of the Chinese Yuan in the Kenya shilling is likely to boost the efficiency of the economy. 




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