NAIROBI, April 3 (Reuters) – The proportion of Kenya’s population with access to formal financial services rose to 83 percent from 75 percent in 2016, driven largely by mobile technology, a survey part-conducted by the central bank showed on Wednesday.

The East African nation is one of the world’s leaders in mobile money services, after telecoms operator Safaricom pioneered its M-Pesa service 12 years ago to cater for Kenyans without access to the formal banking network.

M-Pesa has since evolved from a basic SIM card-based money transfer application into a fully-fledged financial service, offering loans and savings in conjunction with local banks, plus merchant payments services.

Airtel Kenya, a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel, and Telkom Kenya…