Safaricom developing chat and mobile payment app

Safaricom Bonga
Safaricom's Bonga app will combine chat and mobile payments.

Kenya’s biggest telecoms company, Safaricom, have announced they are piloting a social messaging app linked to its mobile money platform.

Named Bonga, which means “chat” in Kiswahili, the app will be integrated with Safaricom’s hugely popular financial services platform M-Pesa and is the first product launched by the company’s innovation incubator Alpha.

The app, which will be end-to-end encrypted despite Kenya not having data privacy laws, is currently being piloted by Safaricom staff before a public launch for its 30 million users later this year. If you want to try a beta version of the app, you can sign up for Bonga here.

Safaricom is 35 percent owned by South African group Vodacom and 5 percent by Vodacom’s major shareholder Vodafone.