@MrJeans i'm not living in africa so my thoughts are based on what i read over the Internet.
It seems that you are there, could you please say something more about what you know/see that's happening there?
Is Zimbabwe like the rest of sub-sahara Africa?
Is every grocery store accepting MPesa? How much do they charge for "funding" my account?
Too many questions!
M-pesa is not very big in South Africa. Although they are advertising and there is a market for it here. The cities in South Africa are first world and have all the services etc you could wish for. The small towns usually have strip malls which will have banks, remittance and other financial services.
However the smaller villages have absolutely no services, there are no formal shops for say 20km, no banks, post offices etc. And to use a bus to travel into town can be expensive for a low earner. However there will be cell phone network coverage and you will be able to purchase cell phone credit for making calls etc (airtime credit can easily be purchased from a local store owner pretty much anywhere). This is most likely the space M-pesa is targeting. And this is where bitUSD or bitZAR would be needed.
I am currently in Limpopo and recently took a drive to the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe. Wow, it is a whole other world at that border. There are a huge number of people coming over the border with US dollars to purchase goods in South African stores (the political instability in Zimbabwe pushes up the prices of goods in the country). Persons from Zimbabwe will then pay a premium for South African rands using the US dollars so that they can purchase goods in the stores although many stores at the border accept dollars and charge a premium for the goods.
The whole of Zimbabwe runs on US dollars and so does Zambia. Everything in these countries is done in cash and it would be great to have a virtual financial service.
So in the very rural parts of South Africa and in the whole of Zimbabwe and Zambia bitUSD and bitZAR would do very well. (I would imagine that the demand for bitUSD in Argentina would be even higher but thats another story).
The only issue would be getting bitUSD/bitZAR into the market in the first place. Thats where m-pesa has a huge advantage as they are linked to a cellular network (vodacom) and people can convert cellular credit (easily obtainable) and convert it to m-pesa money.
There needs to be a service where people can convert cellular credit into bitUSD/bitZAR.
In the pursuit of knowledge I am now attempting the use M-pesa. I need to do so through vodacom (this involves purchasing the simcard from a store and registering it). Registering the simcard involves me giving an identity card number and proof of residence.
Then using my phone I had to register for M-pesa. They asked for my identity number and my name. Apparently I am now waiting for the registration process to be complete. They are probably checking that my simcard is registered with the same identity number etc as I just provided them.
I'll update here as I go through the process. Registering for Bitshares-X was way easier