Kenyan mobile network operator Safaricom has struck an agreement with Alibaba to use its M-Pesa mobile payment service for making online purchases on

Launched over 10 years ago in an effort to drive financial inclusion, M-Pesa is said to be a profit booster for the mobile operator.

The new alliance is aimed at offering a global appeal to the payments platform, which currently has a user base of over 21 million.

Commenting on the new partnership, Safaricom chief customer officer Sylvia Mulinge said: “This partnership seeks to connect Kenyans to even more business opportunities by enabling them to seamlessly source, purchase and import goods from the world’s leading manufacturers.”

Under the agreement, Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial will offer M-Pesa as a payment option for payments denominated in Kenyan shillings.

“The move especially targets microtraders in the country who source goods and other supplies from manufacturers in China,” Safaricom noted.

In November 2018, Safaricom collaborated with Western Union to enable M-Pesa users send and receive money transfers across the world.

At present, 65% of mobile phone users in Kenya use Safaricom. The mobile operator is owned by Vodacom and Vodafone.

Last month, Western Union introduced a new payment option for Kenyan consumers, enabling them to do online shopping on with local currency.