M-Pesa Platform to be Brought Back to Kenya in 2015

Leading Kenyan operator Safaricom is planning to deal with issues surrounding the releasing of the M-Pesa API by relocating the main server back to Kenya.

This is according to Safaricom head of innovation Veronica Ogeto, who was speaking at the ongoing PIVOT East event in Nairobi yesterday as part of a fireside chat which saw developers engage corporates such as Safaricom, Intel, Samsung and Motorola.

“The question has been there for sometime but the M-Pesa platform is not hosted in Kenya, there is a project to bring it back home and the target date is March 2015,” said Ogeto in response to a question by a developer on when the API will be released.

Questions also arose as to whether developers should make applications for consumers or for enterprises, and while Ogeto held there is space for both consumer-based apps and enterprise-based apps, Motorola East Africa account manager James Kamweti was of the opinion enterprise apps were unchartered waters that were also very profitable.

“There is a lot of profitability and sustainability if you focus on enterprise apps,” said Kamweti.

Intel’s Fred Omondi disputed this, however, saying with enterprises it is often hard for them to take on new apps as it often takes longer to convince people, sentiments which were echoed by Samsung East Africa head of sales Simon Kareithi, who added that most organizations also factor in issues to do with the safety of their organisation.

During the session developers were warned to take care of their intellectual property so as to avoid exploitation, and among the best avenues are the local intellectual property bodies and alternatives offered by the companies they were approaching.

Some developers wanted to know if they can get compensated if they presented ideas that were subsequently take up, but Ogeto advised it was better for a developer to come up with a tangible product instead because ideas do not have trademarks, copyrights or patents.

While there is an increase in smartphone uptake in Kenya, a great number of people are still using feature phones and Ogeto said there was still a need to cater for this critical mass despite many developers being in a dilemma over whether to develop for this market.

During the afternoon session a number of startups pitched their products, among them Zapmedic (Uganda), SokoNect (Kenya), Totohealth (Kenya) and SokoText (Kenya).

Originally published on Human IPO.