Kenya: M-Pesa and mobile data boost Safaricom’s 2019 growth

Kenya: M-Pesa and mobile data boost Safaricom’s 2019 growth

From left to right: Nicholas Nganga, President of Safaricom, Peter Ndegwa, Chief Executive Officer and Sateeh Kamath, Chief Financial Officer. The three executives presented the operator’s 2019 results via videoconference © Safaricom/Youtube/2020 It was in the aseptic atmosphere of an empty press room that Safaricom’s managers once again demonstrated the financial strength of the group they lead.

Managed – remotely – since the end of March by the Kenyan Peter Ndegwa, the telecommunications operator has recorded a turnover of 262.5 billion Kenyan shillings for its 2019 financial year, or more than 2.23 billion euros with profits before interest (Ebit) up 13.5% compared to 2018 at 101 billion shillings.

READ MORE Kenya: Safaricom paves the way for its new CEO

This double-digit growth is driven by an unprecedented reduction in operating expenses. And of course by its flagship application, M-Pesa, available in 167 countries, which alone contributes 12.6% of the group’s growth (33.6% of revenues in 2019).

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Another dynamic segment, mobile data, particularly via 4G, recorded revenues of 40.7 billion shillings, up 12% year-on-year.

This was not without risk for the operator, which launched an unlimited voice and data offer in October. The latter already accounts for 40% of the segment’s revenues.

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Peter Ndegwa is determined to pursue mobile penetration in Kenya, which he considers “perfectible”, and following the results announced a partnership with Google to offer one million smartphones at twenty shillings per month, which will be available on the market for nine months. Highly profitable “apps within the app”

The M-Pesa and mobile data diptych is therefore now the growth lever that is offsetting losses on traditional voice (-8 points compared to 2017) and messaging (-1.4 points compared to 2017). This is a vein that is more than ever to be exploited for the firm controlled by the British company Vodafone through its pan-African subsidiary, Vodacom, domiciled in South Africa.

READ MORE Vodacom and Safaricom in the driver’s seat for M-Pesa This is why the Vodacom-Safaricom duo has created a joint venture with full powers to make M-Pesa a “super-app” to provide for various needs such as booking taxis, making various appointments or paying for various services by mobile phone. Safaricom launched new services as early as 2013, with M-Shwari, Fuliza and KCB M-Pesa came later to […]

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