Kenya’s Safaricom is facing an accusation that its new savings and loans service is based on an idea developed by micro finance institution Faulu Kenya.
The mobile operator launched the service called M-Shwari at the end of November.
The service, which is delivered over the M-Pesa infrastructure, was described by Bob Collymore (pictured), Safaricom’s executive director, as a “groundbreaking financial service innovation”.
But Faulu Kenya claims to have met with Safaricom where it proposed a similar idea and offered a partnership to the operator.
Faulu Kenya’s concept is a cash advance service where clients would apply for and receive loans and make payments via M-Pesa. It claimed to have signed a non-disclosure agreement with Safaricom.
The case has come up before the High Court and will be heard on 18 December.
Safaricom launched M-Shwari in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa and Vodafone.
It is not the first time it has launched a savings and loan service. It previously offered the M-Kesho service through a partnership with Equity Bank.