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German power outage knocks out M-Pesa in Kenya

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Damage to a Vodafone server in Germany resulted in an M-Pesa outage for Safaricom Kenya users on the weekend.

According to Safaricom Kenya, the power outage damaged Vodafone server discs that are used to help host the mobile money offering.

The outage subsequently prevented M-Pesa customers from sending money, making deposits, withdrawing cash or conducting transactions.

However, services have been reportedly restored by Sunday evening.

John Kariuki who runs an M-Pesa agent at Kenyatta university said it was a major setback to his business.

“I almost make approximately a profit of approximately (US$ 35.3) but for yesterday there was nothing. This is my only means of earning a living.”

Jane Kamau an M-Pesa agent in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi Githurai area, urged the mobile operator to offer quality services through a superior system as people across the country depend on it.

“Currently, M-Pesa is the only convenient mode of sending,depositing and withdrawing money across the country as it offers prompt and safe means of carrying out transactions but it is a crisis when it is off,” says Kamau.

George Omondi, M-Pesa subscriber who is a third year university student in the local university said he was disappointed with the money transfer system, “I have money in the M-Pesa account but I cant access, all my day’s plans are affected.”

M-Pesa, which was launched in 2007, is a top revenue earner for Safaricom.

According to the firm’s chief executive officer Bob Collymore, M-pesa earned Khs16.9billion in revenue for the firm in 2011. This figure accounted for 29% of the company’s total revenues last year, said Collymore.

Safaricom is Kenya’s biggest network operator as the company says it has 19.1 million subscribers, a market share of over 65% in the country's mobile market.

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