This is the
VOA Special English Development Report.
phones have revolutionized the way people connect not only with family and
friends but also business services. A good example: services that let people use
their phones to send and receive money.
companies, Safaricom and Vodafone, launched the M-Pesa mobile money service in
Kenya in two thousand seven. Pesa means money in Swahili. The service operates much
like a savings bank -- which is important, because plenty of Kenyans do not
have bank accounts.
Most of the early users were young men who worked in
cities and wanted to send money home to rural areas. Now customers can also use
their M-Pesa accounts to pay bills, make purchases or pay for services like
taxis. Users pay a small amount for each transaction.
Stephen Mbugua has a farm a half-hour's drive from the
capital. He uses M-Pesa to receive money from his son and to pay bills.
Stephen Mbugua: "I used to go to Nairobi or to any bank to pay
my bill. But now, right now, I don't go to Nairobi, I just pay my bill from
Some businesses use the service to pay
across Kenya, there are stores and automated teller machines where M-Pesa users
can add and withdraw money from their accounts.
can also transfer money to other mobile phone users, even those without an
M-Pesa account. The other person receives a text message with a code to take to
the local M-Pesa agent to get the money.
this pleases twenty-two year old Phelister Omari.
Phelister Omari: "It's very fast. The M-Pesa, they're available
everywhere. So once you are going somewhere, you can drop, get some cash and
is improving economic conditions for many Kenyan families. British-based Vodaphone
has also teamed with local companies to offer the service in Uganda and
says nearly eight million people in Kenya now use M-Pesa. That number is
expected to grow as more people use mobile phones.
recent report predicted that the number of mobile phone accounts worldwide will
reach almost four and a half billion this year. That is twelve percent more
than last year, and equal to two-thirds of the world's population.
report was from the European Information Technology Observatory. The group says
the strongest growth in mobile phone use now comes from newly industrialized
and developing countries.
that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. You
can find transcripts and podcasts of our reports at voaspecialenglish.com. And
you can find us on Twitter and YouTube at VOA Learning English. I'm Bob Doughty.