M-Pesa and the Role of the Entrepreneurial State in a Cashless Technology to Deliver an Inclusive Financial Sector


  • Marybeth Rouse University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Bernardo Batiz-Lazo Northumbria University, UK and Universidad Anahuac, Mexico
  • Santiago Carbo-Valverde Universidad de Valencia, Spain


mobile banking, mobile payments, technology, entrepreneurial state, financial inclusion, innovation, Kenya


This article adds to case studies documenting the collaboration of private and state institutions in the construction of key modern technologies. Specifically, we contribute to the body of literature on the entrepreneurial state by documenting how state intervention in developing economies is not limited to capital-intensive projects and proven technologies but helps to develop markets and facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship, ultimately leading to economic growth. We revisit published sources in order to provide greater detail than previous studies on the role of state agents while also documenting how entrepreneurial states collaborate across borders. These ideas are exemplified by the evolution of state intervention in Kenya leading to the emergence of the world-recognized mobile payment service M-Pesa. The case of M-Pesa illustrates how public-private partnerships, the collaboration in the search for commercial opportunities by British and Kenyan governments, together with an enabling regulatory environment, facilitate technological innovation as a means of enhancing financial inclusion.