Kenyan telco, Safaricom and pan-African firm Vodacom have completed the acquisition of the M-PESA mobile payment platform from Vodafone.
The purchase has been made through a joint venture between the two companies. The deal marks a significant moment for both Safaricom and Vadacom as they look to boost their mobile financial service capabilities.
“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,” said Safaricom’s outgoing CEO, Michael Joseph.
The transaction was first announced in 2019 and will accelerate M-PESA’s growth in Africa by giving both Vodacom and Safaricom full control of the M-PESA brand, product development and support services as well as the opportunity to expand M-PESA 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,” said Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO.
Vodafone Group’s CEO, Nick Read reiterated the importance of mobile payment services in Africa – particularly during the current Covid 19 pandemic.
“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,” he said.
M-PESA is the largest payments platform in Africa, with 40 million users and over a billion transactions every month. M-PESA is operational in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt.