Safaricom’s M-pesa is the first Mobile money provider to join the United for Wildlife financial task-force. The organization comprises a coalition of charities who have come together with the aim of tackling illegal wildlife trade.
M-pesa is Africa’s leading mobile money provider, serving about 41.5 million customers across seven countries. The platform is the most popular among Fintech companies, with over 12.2 billion transactions annually.
Mpesa enables customers to pay bills, create savings and loans accounts on M-Shwari and access overdraft facilities through Fuliza. The platform also allows users to buy goods, pay for commercial services and transfer and receive funds through their mobile phones.
“The environment remains a critical, shared communal resource and has been under threat from the illegal trade of wildlife. The future of our economy, families and children, therefore, depends on protecting our wildlife and our natural ecosystems,” Sitoyo Lopokoyit, CEO of M-Pesa Africa said.
Vodacom Group International Markets Chief Officer, Diego Gutierrez said that Financial institutions, as well as the broader private sector, have a responsibility to do whatever is within their collective power to help preserve the world’s natural heritage by combating illicit funds from the illegal wildlife trade.
“Through M-Pesa, the Vodacom Group is pleased to join forces with various other signatories to support the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce.” he added.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected Africa’s tourism industry as a whole with the impact felt on the conservation front. African countries may take a long time, perhaps a few years, before they can recover the revenues lost during this period.
The pandemic also highlighted public health risks posed by illegal wildlife trade.
“Criminal activity not only endangers animals and threatens the security of rangers but also contributes to the spread of zoonotic diseases – infections caused by a pathogen that has jumped from animal to humans – such as COVID-19 and Ebola.”Kate Bedwell, Head of Governance, Risk and Compliance for M-Pesa, explained.
The financial taskforce for United For Wildlife was established in 2018 through a declaration signed at the Mansion House in London. The declaration calls on the signatories to use financial intelligence and their resources to support law enforcement in pursuing the beneficiaries of illegal wildlife trade.
“M-Pesa will play a critical role in the mission to stop the illegal wildlife trade by ensuring that there are no illegal funds going through our platform to support or to help this illegal activity.” Lopokoyit concluded.