Kenya sells bond over mobile phones

Mar 24, 2017

The bond can be bought via mobile phones and offers a higher interest rate than offered by commercial banks.

In the first of its kind in the global bond market, Kenya started selling a government bond via mobile phones on Thursday. The three-year bond called M-Akiba is targeted at widening the pool of investors in the country. The bond which can be bought by users with mobile phones without a bank account comes as a limited offer of 150 million shillings in order to test and assess the system before opening a bigger offer of 4.85 billion shillings planned for June 2017. Within an hour after the sale commenced, about 200 investors had put in about 600,000 shillings. The lead financial sector specialist at the Kenya office of the World Bank, Mehnaz Safavian said "The sale of government bonds in very small amounts through the mobile phone with no need of a bank account is a first in the world". The new bond is offered on the mobile financial service M-Pesa and other similar services. Investors can buy the bond for as little as 3,000 shillings, earning a tax-free interest of 10 percent with the option to trade at the secondary market. The 10 percent is higher than 7 percent offered by commercial banks on deposit.