Update: Safaricom unveils Mali – a mobile investment product with a 10pc annual return

Safaricom, in a statement, has clarified that Mali is currently in an early testing phase and still subject to ongoing engagement with the relevant regulators for approval.

“It is therefore premature to comment on our future plans around the service and whether or when it will be available to all our customers.”

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M-Pesa users can now put money in a mobile-based investment vehicle with a promise of a 10 percent return per annum subject to withholding tax.

Mali, which is Swahili for wealth, will allow MPesa users to invest as little as 100 for daily interest. If a user has Sh10,000 in Mali, for example, the interest on this would be Sh1,000 with the taxman taking Sh150 from the interest.

Users can register to access Mali via the USSD code *230# and by providing a valid email address and a next of kin contact. Safaricom is also looking to roll out the tool via My Safaricom App.

Investors on the service will be able to access their investments instantly, with interest subject to withholding taxes. Customers can top up their investment using USSD or via the Paybill on Safaricom Sim Tool Kit.

Mali allows customers to top up any amount between Sh100 and Sh70,000.

In case a customer wishes to withdraw beyond MPesa limits, the payment will roll over days until the full investment pays off.

Deposits and withdrawals from the investment tool are free.

Any user registered for M-Pesa for over 3 months is eligible to join Mali. However, if a user has multiple M-Pesa registered numbers, each line will be treated as a separate account.

Customers who replaced their sim cards in the last three days are not eligible.

Mali is quite similar to the Government’s infrastructure bond, M-Akiba, which was the first exclusive mobile-based bond in the world to be launched in 2017.

M-Akiba has over 560,000 retail investor accounts and has raised over Sh1 billion over two tranches offering investors a 10 percent tax-free return.