Safaricom and WorldRemit signed a direct partnership agreement, a move said to increase the speed and security of international cash transfers to m-Pesa wallets in Kenya.

Although consumers are already able to use WorldRemit’s service to send cash to Safaricom users, the international remittance company said the direct partnership would smooth the process, increasing the speed with which funds are made available and boosting security.

The deal enables customers in 50 countries to instantly send funds to Safaricom’s 29 million strong m-Pesa user base.

In a statement, WorldRemit added the new agreement was the culmination of “years of rapidly growing volumes of international money transfers to m-Pesa accounts in Kenya”.

WorldRemit estimates around 3 million Kenyan nationals live outside of the country with large volumes of inbound remittance originating from the UK, Australia, US, Germany, Canada and the Nordics.

Sharon Karuga Kinyanjui, head of East and Central Africa at WorldRemit said: “Our direct integration with Safaricom comes as both companies recognise the impressive growth in international remittances to m-Pesa accounts.”

The remittance company aims to serve 10 million customers in emerging markets by 2020: a year ago it signed a similar deal with the National Bank of Kenya to boost its position in Kenya.