This article uses the Steven Framework to show the influence of research on the policies and practices of mobile money transfer and mobile phone-enabled payments in Africa. While it is a much discussed subject, few people know the wider narrative by which products such as M-Pesa were intentionally championed from outside the mobile phone industry. This championing was part of a much broader intentional strategy to change the landscape of financial service provision in Africa and to decrease the cost of international remittances. The origins of this strategy are to be found in research on the emerging behaviours associated with mobile phone use in Africa. There is an increasing call for evidence-based policymaking. The M-Pesa story shows a clear example of research informing (and thereby contributing to) policy development.