Alot has been Blogged about the MPESA api…and when I say Alot am talking about 1000’s of tweets,blogs,texts etc. When The Late Idd Salim (It still hurts me to call him late) was around he delved endlessly into this. Everyone has talked about how Devs would be able to leverage said APIs into their systems if Safaricom Just agreed to play Ball. But You all know safcom….safcom is like that pretty chic,big booty, titties from here to Ronga..the whole Package…The hardest thing is kuingisha dame kama Huyu Box…I mean the typical point of approach would be “Waaa Msupa si umeiva..” But kwani you think its the first time she has heard this..off cource not she will just snob you and twerk that ass some where else. Same thing with Safcom we all approach them telling them the same thing..”aki safcom MPESA ni poa wacha tu code on it” And safcom will snob you. But even pretty chics get Lonely si ati they also dont want the D..kuna someone who will come with a new Different angle instead of cliche lines he will hit her with unxpected wordplay “Waa si I like your eyes,na si unajua Mwanamke ni Haga,why you have a small one??” and baam chic will be disarmed nikama kufinya reset kwa system. Back to safcom someone actually ingishad them Box and build an API of sorts (Not new news really) I will get to that in a few
Ohh wait so Safcom just posted that MPESA is down as I write this for 2 days Runs to withdraw cash: *sigh*
Back to said API ,Bernsoft kitu last year sucessfully developed a system for MPESA that makes MPESA transactions realtime – this is why when you pay DSTV your account gets reconnected immediately or when you deposit money to your bank from MPESA its realtime or why your KPLC payment is more realtime than it was before. They developed this system called “MPESA Instant Payment Notification (IPN) ” originally for use on Kenya Airways ticketing then presented it to Safaricom and they liked the idea thus opened up MPESA for us them to integrate with and so most if not all of MPESA Paybill /Buy Good Transactions are now processed through this locally developed system.
Many Local companies are Using this (I for one do most of my MPESA stuff primarily on said IPN) But this is Not full proof.For starters its Not exactly Bi Directional and requires Integral Integration with a Paybill Number. If you have ever tried getting one you will know its one of the hardest things ..hard because the tarrifs are a CLOSELY guarded and No one can know what say Comapy A pays.Meaning If you dev a system and you set up a contract with them you may be charged x and Company A gets charged y Where x>y and you cant do shyt about It.
But this was a great leap since it was the first( Ata Virgo haitikiangi kila siku after the first time, you have to give her time to Digest the awesomeness of the D) hahaha…Moving along swiftly..The problem with Safaricom is that Saf cannot be both the owner of the platform and also the gate keeper of innovations that may run on it. All the Innovations Devs talk about will not stop them from earning money by coming up with standard licensing fees. However and Important to Note it should not be up to them to decide which idea they like and therefore should run on a payment system. This is the same problem AT&T had because they simultaneously owned Bell Labs which churned out landmark software technologies, they could decide that a technology that seemed a threat would not run on their network yet they were virtually a monopoly the way M-PESA by market positioning is a virtual monopoly.The fact is we cannot let Safaricom stifle innovation and continue to prosper. AT&T was finally split up in 1984 not because of its overwhelming market dominance, but that IT WAS REFUSING TO ALLOW NEW INNOVATIONS TO WORK ON ITS PLATFORMS thus overall stifling technology.
There are thousands of programmers who could come up with software or games that could seamlessly integrate M-PESA as a payment platform for their services without having to go through an approval process where Safaricom technical people are the judges and jury particularly given the integrity issues that have long been raised of these Safaricom IT guys when it comes to dealing with developers.
Another key thing of Note if Safaricom will ShutDown MPESA today (11:00pm Saturday 9th November to 6.00a.m on Sunday 10th November) will this rumpant outages not cost the economy? 35% of our Kenyan GDP passes through M-PESA when there is no credible redundancy.That if MPESA is out of a week the economy stagnates? Potential systemic risks such as banking systems heavily exposed to one economic sector are heavily discouraged and neither should we say our national transactions are 35% exposed to one payment system and be happy about it.A system which No one but a select few know anything about
As Salim would Say: Wazi Back To code