Kenya launches M-Akiba Treasury bond

By Judith Akolo

Kenya has broken yet another glass ceiling with the launch of M-Akiba which is a treasury bond offered via the mobile phone platform.

The bond that was floated Thursday, raised close to a million shillings within 15 minutes of its launch. Kenyans have three weeks to subscribe for the bond.

The new innovation that will be offered through M-Pesa and Airtel money will see Kenyans from the lower rungs invest a minimum of 3,000 shillings in the Treasury bond.

M-Akiba which follows the success of such innovations such as M-Pesa will use the mobile technology allowing investors to subscribe, pay the subscription fee as well as earn interest using the Safaricom and Airtel Kenya networks.

With 23 million mobile money subscribers, the government hopes M-Akiba will be successful ahead of the main launch targeting 5 billion shillings in June this year to finance infrastructure projects.

Within the first 15 minutes of its launch, M-Akiba raised 847,000 shillings.

In the meantime the government has allayed fears of over its external debt even as it seeks to mobilize local resources to finance infrastructure projects.

National Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thuge says the government plans to float an Islamic bond in the future.