Safaricom and Vodacom have completed the acquisition of the M-PESA brand, product development and support services from Vodafone through a newly-created joint venture.
Safaricom says the deal started in 2019, aim to give both Vodacom and Safaricom full control of the M-PESA brand as well as the opportunity to expand M-PESA into new African markets.
In a statement, Michael Joseph, outgoing Safaricom CEO said: “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.”
With over 40 million users, M-PESA is the largest payments platform on the African continent serving over 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.
Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO, says “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.”
The disposal of the M-PESA brand, support and product development services to Vodacom and Safaricom is broadly financially neutral for Vodafone Group.
Nick Read, Vodafone Group’s CEO, said: “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.”