Safaricom/Vodacom: joint venture to expand M-PESA in Africa

By Leah Netabai

Safaricom and Vodacom finalise their acquisition of the M-PESA brand, which first began in 2019.

First taking place in 2019, leading telecom’s brands within the MENA region - Safaricom and Vodacom - have completed their acquisition of the M-PESA brand, product development and support services via Vodafone’s newly created joint venture.

The joint venture will help to accelerate M-PESA’s growth within Africa, as well as expand its opportunities into new African markets.

“This is a significant milestone for Vodacom as it will accelerate our financial services aspirations in Africa. Our joint venture will allow Vodacom and Safaricom to drive the next generation of the M-PESA platform – an intelligent, cloud-based platform for the smartphone age. It will also help us to promote greater financial inclusion and help bridge the digital divide within the communities in which we operate,” commented Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO.

“For Safaricom, we’re excited that the management, support and development of the M-PESA platform has now been relocated to Kenya, where the journey to transform the world of mobile payments began 13 years ago. This new partnership with Vodacom will allow us to consolidate our platform development, synchronise more closely our product roadmaps, and improve our operational capabilities into a single, fully converged Centre of Excellence,” commented Michael Joseph, outgoing Safaricom CEO.

About M-PESA

M-PESA is one of the largest payment platforms in the African region. The platform has 40mn users and processes over one billion transactions every month.  M-PESA is currently operational in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt. 

So far roughly  25% of all M-PESA customers have access to a smartphone, which is growing by 10% each year.

“M-PESA is hugely successful and enables millions of unbanked people in Africa to transfer money, pay bills and trade. It benefits communities and helps create a multitude of small and micro-business ventures. However, with the rapid increase in smartphone penetration, the evolution into financial services and the potential for geographical expansion, we believe the next step in M-PESA’s African growth will be more effectively overseen by Vodacom and Safaricom,” commented Nick Read, Vodafone Group’s CEO.

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