Expanding financial access

1 minute read

M-Kopa isn’t threatened by competitors looking to emulate its pay-as-you-go products for underbanked customers across Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana. One reason: demand for affordable mobile phones far exceeds the supply one company can provide, says Jesse Moore, CEO and co-founder of the 13-year-old fintech company. M-Kopa’s supply is rising. Last year, the startup—which also provides daily-wage earners with loans for home solar systems and e-bikes as well as health insurance—opened Kenya’s first smartphone assembly factory in partnership with Nokia manufacturer HMD Global. The facility has produced over 1 million phones and more than 300 jobs. With $248 million in revenue last year and more than 4 million customers, Moore sees the company’s growth and customers’ economic progress as closely tied. An M-Kopa customer’s first product marks “the beginning of financial relationships that can lead to the availability of health insurance, savings accounts, or other important financial tools.” In November, M-Kopa expanded into South Africa.

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Write to Armani Syed at armani.syed@time.com