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M-TIBA: Transforming lives

Company Description

Safaricom Limited[1] is a leading mobile network operator in Kenya. Established in 1997 as a fully owned subsidiary of Telkom Kenya, Safaricom is now part of a small group of about 400 companies across Africa whose annual revenues are more than $1 billion. Safaricom is committed to investing in a unique way of doing business through their adopted purpose to ‘Transform Lives’.

Safaricom is active in increasingly diverse sectors and aims to empower Kenyans with the necessary tools for economic growth.  Safaricom aims do continually integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)[2] into the core of their business and believes  that  the  role  of  business  extends  far  beyond  making  profits. The company views mobile  telecommunications,  and  its  related  products  and  services,  as  a  unique  opportunity  to  improve the  quality  of  life  and  contribute  to  sustainable  livelihoods  for  people  throughout  Kenya.

Opportunity for creating Shared Value

Healthcare  remains one of Africa’s biggest challenges. With just one doctor per 17,000 people in Africa, getting access to a qualified medical opinion is a privilege that many citizens do not get to enjoy. This leaves many at the mercy  of  second-level medical staff who may ultimately do more harm despite their good intentions. The third SDG seeks to ensure health and well-being for all, at every stage of life. After the 10 year success of the MPESA[3] project, and the unprecedented  rise  of  mobile phones and mobile money in Kenya, Safaricom believes that the power of mobile lies in  its ability to increase access and that mHealth services have the potential to generate significant impact. Therefore Safaricom embarked on a project to create an E-wallet that focused specifically on healthcare: M-TIBA.

The Strategy:

Reconciling Product Market and Enabling Cluster Development:

In 2015 Safaricom partnered with CarePay[4],  a  financial  engagement  firm  that  helps  individuals  manage health  expenses, and with  PharmAccess[5] a non-profit  organization  that  seeks  to  make quality healthcare accessible in Africa. With These partnerships, Safaricom launched M-TIBA in September 2016, a mobile health wallet that allows users to send,  save  and  receive funds to get healthcare services using mobile phones. M stands for  mobile and Tiba means “care” in Swahili.

The application is modeled on Safaricom’s mobile money transfer platform, M-PESA. For a majority of Kenyans who are excluded from mainstream health insurance schemes, M-TIBA empowers them to take care of their own healthcare and roll over their savings from month to month. Funds stored in M-TIBA are managed by UAP Insurance.

The value stored in an M-TIBA wallet can hold different forms: Health savings, health insurance cover or free health benefits. For example, a government or donor can provide a mobile voucher for a certain type of medical treatment.

The voucher can be used in the M-TIBA wallet to pay for treatment at one of the clinics selected for the voucher program and linked to the M-TIBA platform. The clinic bills the individual by submitting the treatment data through a tablet or a PC. The treatment data is then checked by a medical person. If the treatment is approved, the individual’s payment request is accepted and the money is transferred to the healthcare provider. With traditional, paper based insurance or voucher systems, healthcare providers often need to wait for many months until they get paid. But since M-TIBA is integrated with M-PESA, the money now arrives at the facility almost instantaneously after the treatment has been approved.

The Results

Business Results:

Safaricom is benefiting from a life-changing digital revolution that could help solve our most pressing social and environmental  challenges. Already, 80% of the world’s mobile money transactions are happening in East Africa, driven by Kenya, which is now known as the epicentre of mobile innovation. The M-PESA users cut across the entire social-economic demographic of Kenya, forming 92% of our customer base.

M-Tiba targets low-income groups who are M-PESA users and M-TIBA now has close to 1 million users. Safaricom has partnered with banks to enable savings and loans, again enabling millions of citizens to access these banking services.  With customers opting to save on the platform as well, there is an ingrained and growing sense of trust associated to the Safaricom Brand and its products, enticing new customers to grow our market base as well. A KPMG True Value report we released in 2016 shows that Safaricom created value for the economy at 11 times higher than our profits for 2015. This translates to Sh414 billion over 14 Million USD.

Social Results:

M-TIBA has close to 1 million registered users on its mobile health platform, allowing users to send, save, receive and pay for healthcare services using their mobile phones.

M-TIBA has recorded over 60,000 clinic visits and over Sh. 100,000,000 million (USD     1 million) in medical pay-outs since its national rollout in September 2016. There is a growing network of over 350 M-TIBA healthcare facilities across the country. M-TIBA provides registered clinics and doctors with access to healthcare information and protocols in order to improve their practices. M-TIBA sees over 4,000 people sign up a day and is the biggest mobile health insurance platform in Africa. It is providing long term benefits to individual customers and the entire healthcare sector.

Lessons learned, challenges and Future Growth.

In it’s 17 years of existence Safaricom has learned that it is in fact possible to become creators of human potential, not just traders in it. With Safaricom’s unparalleled reach and trust with the Kenyan people, PharmAccess’s experience as a healthcare innovator and CarePay’s revolutionary transaction platform connecting donors, insurers, healthcare providers and patients, it is Safaricom’s goal to make M-TIBA and it’s benefits become available to thousands of healthcare providers and millions of people across Kenya.