Safaricom sets sights on new digital ecosystem as it marks 20 years
Leading telco operator Safaricom says it will be seeking to evolve beyond its current realm of mobile connectivity as it marks its 20th birthday this week.
According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom will be seeking to extend its ecosystem to new areas including agriculture, health and education.
“We have been a connectivity business with a payment platform. We now want to be a broader technology company empowering business especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” he said.
“We’ve seen the power of digitization during this crisis. We want to deploy the new digital ecosystem to empower farmers, policy holders and students.”
The desired evolution comes as the company enjoys an undisputed telco market leadership position which presently composes of a 35 million subscriber base or an equivalent 65 per cent market share.
Safaricom says its primary focus for the will remain anchored on the continued transformation of the lives which features improved service provision to customers.
“We want to ensure we have an end to end customer connection in the next five years,” added Mr. Ndegwa.
Investments towards agriculture will feature as a continuation of the legacy of former CEO Bob Collymore who mulled the roll out of Digifarm- a digital platform linking small holder farmers to markets.
On Tuesday, Safaricom unveiled a new payment solution target at SMEs dubbed Pochi la Biashara which will allow book keeping by enterprises while allowing the separation of cashflows between business and personal funds.
Moreover, Ndegwa says Safaricom is keen on widening its network coverage in a goal which will see the company extend its 4G across the country along with switching 2G mobile device users to the 4G platform through the provision of cheap handsets.
Safaricom’s extended value chain has grown to support in excess of one million jobs as of 2020 including 1095 suppliers, 440 dealers and 173,259 M-Pesa agents.
The company has nevertheless had humble beginnings having only had 170,000 customers at the end of 2000 and a mere 20 base stations having been born out of joint venture between Vodafone and Telkom Kenya.
According to Safaricom’s Chairman and then CEO Michael Joseph, Safaricom began with a mere five employees in a two-bedroom flat at Longonot Place in Nairobi’s Kijabe Street.