A joint venture owned by Safaricom and Vodacom has been handed the reigns for money transfer, financing and microfinancing service m-Pesa from Vodafone.
The transaction was first announced in 2019, the aim is to accelerate the growth of m-Pesa by giving both Safaricom and Vodafone-owned Vodacom full control, including product development and support services, as well as decided to which markets it will be expanded to in the future.
Financials for the transactions are unknown, though Safaricom suggested it could be worth about $13 million last year.
“This is a significant milestone for Vodacom as it will accelerate our financial services aspirations in Africa,” said Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO. “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.”
“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,” said Michael Joseph, outgoing Safaricom CEO. “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.”
Launched in 2007, the popular mobile money service is currently being used by 40 million customers, operating in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt. m-Pesa was also launched outside Africa in Afghanistan. Currently, only 25% of m-Pesa customers have access to a smartphone, though this number is increasing by 10% each year. The more customers who are on a smartphone, the more complex and varied services which can be offered by Vodacom and Safaricom.