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Kenya taps mobile-money platforms to issue infrastructure bond

The Kenyan government has issued the first mobile phone-based bond to users of mobile-money platforms M-Pesa and Airtel to develop a new funding stream for infrastructure projects.

The bond, a 150 million KES ($1.5 million) offering called M-Akiba, reached a 50 percent subscription rate within a week and was bought by about 10,000 investors (suggesting large buyers are driving the numbers).

The minimum investment for the three-year bond is 3,000 KES ($30); it offers a 10 percent tax-free return. The Kenyan government intends to use the M-Akiba platform, which has 61,000 registered subscribers, for a 4.85 billion KES ($47 million) bond in June.

Only 38 percent of Kenyan adults have a bank account in a country of 47 million but there are more than 33 million mobile phone subscriptions and 25 million M-Pesa accounts.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha’s daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

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