Safaricom, Vodacom completes M-Pesa acquisition from Vodafone
By Daisy Okanga | Safaricom and its South African parent company Vodacom have jointly completed the buying of intellectual property rights to M-Pesa service from British firm Vodafone in a deal estimated at Ksh1.42 billion.
It has grown to become the largest payments platform in Africa, with 40 million users and processes over a billion transactions every month, according to Safaricom and Vodacom’s joint statement.
“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, synchronize more closely our product roadmaps, and improve our operational capabilities into a single, fully converged Centre of Excellence.,” outgoing Safaricom CEO, Michael Joseph said.
Talks on the acquisition were first put on the table in 2019 when the deal to purchase M-pesa intellectual rights had been estimated at Ksh1.3 billion.
This was intended to make them make significant savings in royalties paid to Vodafone and enable them to expand the service to other markets.
M-Pesa has been championed as one of Africa’s cashless transfer platforms serving over 40 million people
“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.” Said Nick Read, Vodafone Group’s CEO.
He also said that “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.”
M-pesa was launched in Kenya more than a decade ago, and has evolved from a basic mobile money transfer application into a fully-fledged financial service platform, offering loans and savings in partnership with local banks.
It is the largest payments platform on the African continent, spanning through 40 million users and processes over a billion transactions every month.
Apart from Kenya where is it centred, M-pesa is also operational in Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt.
Presently, around 25 percent of all M-pesa customers have access to a smartphone – a figure that is growing by 10% every year, according to the parent host, Safaricom.