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The initial offering of Kenya’s world-leading infrastructure bond that can only be bought by mobile phone and for as little as Ks3,000 ($29) has sold out two days ahead of schedule.
Finance ministry officials said more than 5,000 people had participated in the Ks150m M-Akiba pilot project sale while another 97,000 had registered an interest in the product. The main offering for Ks48.5bn is to be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in June.
At the launch Henry Rotich, finance minister, said the aim of M-Akiba is to stimulate public participation in the capital markets, help the government raise money cheaply and boost the national savings rate. Akiba is Swahili for savings.
It has a three-year tenure, pays an annual interest rate of 10 per cent and the proceeds will be used to fund infrastructure projects.
The scheme is founded on Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile money system, which allows mobile phone subscribers to send, save and borrow money and pay bills with a few clicks of their phone. It was open to all Kenyan citizens with a registered mobile money account and could be bought from anywhere.
Prior to the launch of M-Akiba the smallest amount that could be invested in government Treasuries was Ks50,000, investors had to have a bank account and go to one of the central bank’s branch offices to complete the purchase.
The pilot project had virtually no advertising apart from on social media because officials wanted to use it to test the systems that connected mobile phone companies, the central bank and the finance ministry.
Officials said the largest amount invested in the bond was Ks1m. An official statement on the bond sale is due to be released later on Wednesday.