Safaricom and Vodacom have announced completion of full acquisition of the M-PESA brand, product development and support services from Vodafone through a newly-created joint venture. Safaricom had shown interest to acquire the brand from Vodafone sometime during last year a measure that was seen to give the telecom giant an upper hand to innovate and introduce additional functionalities on the platform rather than having to go through Vodafone.
The completion of this transaction comes a year later after it was first announced and is expected to boost MPESA’s growth in the continental Africa by providing both Safaricom and Vodacom full control of product development and support services as well as the opportunity to expand M-PESA into new markets.
Speaking on the joint venture, Vodacom’s group CEO Shameel Joosub, said the acquisition presented a significant milestone for Vodacom as its expected to boost the firm’s financial services aspirations in Africa. He also added the move 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 Vodacom promote greater financial inclusion and help bridge the digital divide within the communities in which it operates.
On its part, Safaricom’s outgoing CEO Michael Joseph, said the telco was excited to have the management, support and development of the M-PESA platform relocated to Kenya, where the journey to transform the world of mobile payments began 13 years ago. He also acknowledged the new venture would allow Safaricom to consolidate platform development as well as synchronize more closely product roadmaps, and improve operational capabilities into a single, fully converged Centre of Excellence.”
Vodafone on its part through group CEO’s message read by Nick highlighted how MPESA had been hugely successful by enabling millions of unbanked people in Africa to transfer money, pay bills and trade. The message also read how MPESA had benefited communities as well as create a multitude of small and micro-business ventures. Consequently, he acknowledged that, with rapid increase in smartphone penetration, evolution into financial services and the potential for geographical expansion, Vodafone believed the next step in M-PESA’s African growth will be more effectively overseen by Vodacom and Safaricom.” Currently, M-PESA prides to have the largest payments platform on the African continent with over 40 million users and processes running beyond a billion transactions every month. M-PESA is operational in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt. Currently around 25% of all M-PESA customers have access to a smartphone – a figure that is growing by 10% every year.