Vodacom shareholders have approved a proposal to buy a controlling 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt for the equivalent of US$2.68 billion.
The deal, first proposed in November 2021 , means South Africa-based Vodacom will have a footprint covering 500 million people across Africa and more than 40% of Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Vodacom group CEO Shameel Joosub (pictured) said: “This is an exciting and important step for Vodacom, as the acquisition of Vodafone Egypt will allow us to transition from a telecommunications company to a technology company.”
This is because Vodacom sees “sees attractive synergy potential from combining Vodafone Egypt’s software factory with Vodacom Group’s existing big data capabilities, closer cooperation in scaling pan-African enterprise and internet of things (IoT) solutions, enabling the proliferation of digital services through a platform approach”, the company told its shareholders.
The decision effectively moves the 55% holding in the Egyptian operation from UK-based Vodafone group, continuing a process that started some years ago.
For example, five years ago Vodacom acquired Vodafone’s 35% stake in Kenya’s Safaricom . And last year the successful bidder for Ethiopia’s new telecoms licence, a consortium including Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom, was put under Safaricom’s control.
Joosub said that Egypt offers Vodacom a transformational opportunity to expand its M-Pesa offering, because more than 80% of its 100 million people are unbanked. M-Pesa has been the outstanding success of Safaricom, inspired by Michael Joseph, CEO of Safaricom for 11 years and then the Vodafone group’s head of mobile money.