Challenges faced by Safaricom limited, Kenya, in its expansion strategy using the M-Pesa agents network
M-PESA, a key mobile money transfer widely used in Kenya, was launched in Kenya on March 6, 2007 by Safaricom in partnership with Vodafone. Based upon its success in Kenya, M-PESA has now gone global and has become the most preferred medium of personal cash transfers making it a highly phenomenal and globally recognized money transfer service. To this end, many success stories have been written about it in almost all forms of media. Sixteen respondents were selected to participate in the study. Depth interviews were conducted with them being drawn from Safaricom‟s four sections that deal directly or indirectly with M-PESA business, namely: Agent administration, Operations team, Customer Care and Risk and Fraud Detection team. The data was obtained by means of an interview guide of questions that was circulated in advance to enable them reflect on the questions in preparation for an interview session with the researcher. Probing questions were posed one-on-one to the subjects so as to gain an insightful idea of what the subjects „opinions were. The data was analyzed by means of the qualitative content analysis where the identified key challenges were grouped under respective themes and then discussed in line with the thematic approach in the content analysis. Results were reported by means of narratives with explanations of the various major issues that were captured. Elaborate explanations were given describing the pertinent issues that were raised. Among the expansion strategies adopted by Safaricom was using the M-PESA agents network to reach as many areas and customers as possible. This approach has mainly been targeting entrepreneurs who in most cases have been small business operators. And as any business can attest, the approach has not been without challenges as the business environment is always very dynamic with unforeseen challenges, meaning that in using the agent model, Safaricom limited has been faced with various challenges as well.