Update: Safaricom issues statement on Mali – 2.31pm December 5th.
Safaricom is rolling out a new product around M-Pesa that will allow customers to invest as little as KES. 100 in Unit Trusts, while earning daily interest. The product is available for all M-Pesa customers who’ve been active for the last 3 months, and you can join by dialing *230#.
What is Mali?
Mali translates to wealth from Kiswahili.
Defining exactly what Safaricom is doing will be quite tricky right now, given the full details of this product are yet to be made public. A simple way to explain it is that Safaricom, or whomever they’ve partnered with for ‘Mali’, will together, or even perhaps individually, act as the Fund Managers for the Unit Trust, while us the customers will be the investors pooling our resources, and giving them the cash to invest.
To put it simply, Safaricom’s Mali is a vehicle. We are investors. We fill the vehicle with money from as little as KES. 100 to as much as KES. 70,000, and then the driver goes around investing our money in different things while earning us interest. Note that this may not be exactly how Mali works, but that’s the general idea, I believe.
The interest rate is at 10% per annum.
Mali has been on pilot for quite some time, and it seems the product is set to officially go live soon. Some people who earlier on received messages on the product, have already joined.
Requirements to join?
- Be an M-Pesa customer for the last 3 months
- Make sure you haven’t replaced your SIM card within the last 3 days
- If you have multiple M-Pesa numbers, each line will be treated as a different account.
How to sign up to Mali?
- Dial *230#
- Agree to terms and conditions
- Enter M-Pesa PIN
- Provide a valid email address, and a next of kin contact
- Invest via USSD, or via PayBill number
I’ve tried signing up and all I’m getting is “we couldn’t process request at the moment”. This may be because the product is yet to go live officially.
On the platform, one will be able to access their investments, plus interests. Apart from topping up, one will also be able to instantly withdraw their funds (partial, or full) to their M-Pesa account. If the amount you want to withdraw is more than the M-Pesa limit, one will have option for it to roll over days.
Both deposits, and withdrawals are free. Which is a good thing. However, we are in Kenya, and taxes are inescapable, so there will be a 15% withholding tax charged on the investment income.
When more details on Mali become available, I will update this post. Meanwhile, if you’ve signed up, please share more details in the comment section below.