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East Africa

Kenya’s Safaricom Helps Students Manage Their Loans Via Phones

PUBLISHED: Wed, 03 Mar 2021 17:43:11 GMT

Pedestrian walk past a Safaricom shop in Nairobi on November 22, 2018. (Photo by SIMON MAINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images)

JOHANNESBURG, March 3 (ANA) – Safaricom in Kenya has partnered with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to roll out a smart mobile payment solution for students of tertiary institutions to access and utilise their loans and bursaries.

In a statement dated Tuesday, Safaricom said the solution would aid HELB to promote responsible spending. Funds will be locked for specific allocations, such as tuition or library fees, and only accessible to the specific Paybill account of the recipient’s university or TVET institution.

The students upkeep allowance can now also be transferred into the student’s M-Pesa wallet for everyday use.

“Technology today is not only revolutionising every aspect of our lives, but also creating opportunities to enhance efficiency and accountability. We are pleased to support the Higher Education Loans Board to deploy a solution that suits the digital lifestyle of students in tertiary institutions,” said chief financial services officer at Safaricom Sitoyo Lopokoiyit.

Lopokoiyit said students can access the system through HELB USSD and the mobile app once completed, from where they will be able to view their loan allocations, current balances and statements and make payments.

HELB disbursed more than 15 billion Kenyan shillings (about US$137 million) to more than 200,000 beneficiaries annually. Part of the loan was usually channelled directly to the learning institution to settle part of the tuition and accommodation fees, while the rest was sent to the student for upkeep.

Safaricom said the solution would create efficiencies for all stakeholders by reducing queues during registration as students can now pay through their mobile phones. There would be effective management and monitoring of all loans throughout the loan life cycle.

“The roll-out of this smart solution marks a major milestone in our digitisation journey. It not only enhances efficiency in our operations, but also enables us to step up the experience of beneficiaries, who are digital natives. The solution will allow the student to access and make transactions within the solution’s ecosystem,” said HELB CEO Charles Ringera.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher