Safaricom apps are winning 2021, thanks to innovation. But financial inclusion seems to have won, literally.
Since the launch of Safaricom’s mobile-based savings and loans product M-Shwari in 2012, dozens more lending applications have sprouted up offering short-term loans, with many touting financial inclusion as a goal. Tala and Branch, as well as Zenka, Opesa, and Okash are among the apps that have been popular in the market.
In 2021, Safaricom’s two most popular applications have been downloaded 2 million times. This includes the recently launched and futuristic M-PESA app having already clocked 1 million-plus downloads. The two apps are in the list amongst the top 3 most downloaded applications in Kenya.
However, probably elicited by the tough economic times in the country, 7 of the top 10 most downloaded apps are high-interest loan apps.
In February 2021, a bill was introduced to the Kenyan parliament with the aim to license and regulate digital lending platforms in the country, in an effort to curb the issue of high-interest loans and the exploitative activities that have followed the industry’s rapid rise.
Three other money lending apps form part of the list in top 20.
What other apps are there?
According to data from 42matters, a site offering a full suite of products and services for App Intelligence and Mobile Audience Data, entertainment apps seem to occupy part of the most downloaded in Kenya. Showmax, TikTok, and Boomplay are among those listed.
Other apps are the online shopping giant Jumia, FastVPN, and Opera affiliated apps; Opera News Lite and Opera Mini.
Despite most people picking up online communications tools since the onset of COVID-19, communications apps do not seem to appear in the top 20.
Apps like Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook do not appear anywhere close.
Moreover, news apps are noticeably missing.
The full list, and many more, are available from 42matters.