Global Transfers: M-Pesa, Intellectual Property Rights and Digital Innovation

08/22/2021
by   Christopher Foster, et al.
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In July 2020, in the midst of the COVID crisis, the Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom announced that the intellectual property rights (IPR) for mobile money service M-Pesa were "moving back into African control". This paper tracks how the IPR originally came to be held outside Kenya, and the implications for understanding M-Pesa as an inclusive innovation. Through reflection of this analysis of IPR and innovation, the paper contributes to discussions on structural aspects of digital innovation in the global south. By focussing on IPR, it unpacks some of the processes by which global intellectual property regimes and cross-border IPR practices shape uneven outcomes and power.

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