Vodafone has completed the sale of the M-Pesa brand to a new joint venture founded by Vodacom and Safaricom.
First announced in 2019, the deal hands over full control of the M-Pesa service, including product development and support services, to Vodacom and Safaricom. This is aimed at increasing the service’s footprint in Africa by expanding into new markets. The deal’s value has not been disclosed although Safaricom last year indicated that it could be worth as much as US$13 million.
Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said: “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.”
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.”
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.”
M-Pesa is the largest payments platform on the African continent, it has 40 million users and processes 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.
The disposal of the M-Pesa brand, support and product development services to Vodacom and Safaricom is broadly financially neutral for Vodafone Group.