NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
every new residential building that tenants occupy in Kenya’s
capital Nairobi and other major towns, one would not miss a
mobile money shop on the ground floor.
The taller the
building, the more outlets one would find, with other shops
being those selling construction materials and household goods.
It is the same case
with new gated communities, where one finds several mobile money
outlets in the vicinity. In particular, just outside the main
entrance of the estates if not within.
The mobile money
agents are among the biggest beneficiaries of the real estate
boom in the East African nation. As new buildings come up in the
country, so are mobile money agents.
residential buildings, the agents are also opening shops at
shopping centers like malls and commercial buildings in the
The malls are among
popular commercial buildings being constructed in the East
African nation currently.
residential building, I will not be running this shop here,”
said George Miruka, who operates in Mihango on the east of
Nairobi, on Thursday.
“The people who live
in these houses are my first customers, then the others follow,”
The five-storey flat
hosts 30 one bedroom and one-roomed houses and its construction
was completed barely six months ago and it is 90 percent
Miruka booked the
shop months before the building was completed as he sought to
expand his business.
“I moved in as soon
as it was half occupied and I can say so far, so good because
the tenants are offering me business,” he said, noting some pay
their rent through the agency banking service he runs at the
Outside the newly
constructed Hill Park Estate in Kitengela, two mobile money
agents are competing for the attention of residents.
The estate was built
recently and as soon as tenants and house owners started to move
in, the mobile money shops sprung up.
“I started the
business because I saw the potential here. These houses host up
to 300 people. They have not disappointed me in the last one
year I have been working here,” said Celine Akinyi, one of the
agents. She also sells charcoal, clothes and cooking gas at her
Antony Kuyo, a real
estate consultant, acknowledged that mobile money and banking
agents are among the biggest beneficiaries of Kenya’s
“A majority of
landlords build houses with provision of shops on the ground
floor. Initially, those taking the spaces were sellers of
household goods but mobile money agents have become leading
occupants,” he said.
He attributed this
to the ubiquitous nature of the service, which is deeply
intertwined in the lives of Kenyans.
Some 30 million
Kenyans are subscribed to the service and the East African
nation has about 200,000 agents, according to Communications
Authority of Kenya.
“Real estate growth
opens up new areas and attracts people therefore creating
business. Places that were not inhabited become vibrant once
houses are constructed and business booms thereafter,” he said.