Safaricom of the future will be a technology company and will offer more in the education, agriculture, and health sectors as it grows.
The next phase of Safaricom’s growth will see the service provider continue its innovation tradition and simplify its products and services in line with its FOR YOU brand promise.
At the event to mark the company’s 20th birthday, Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said Safaricom will continue to be purpose-led even as it transforms into a technology company.
“We started as a mobile company, we have evolved and combined technology and innovation to really transform lives,” said Mr Ndegwa at the celebrations at the Nairobi Serena Hotel.
The CEO said meeting the needs of their customers will underline everything Safaricom does as it looks to the future.
“We want to be a purpose-led technology company but the foundation of that is to be customer-obsessed. I believe, and I have worked in business for a long time, that it’s only by looking after our customers, anticipating their needs, serving them well that we can truly be a sustainable business,” said Mr Ndegwa.
This will start with more transparency on data to customers, an area he acknowledged has been problematic, and said the vision is that in five years, Safaricom will be the benchmark in customer experience in the region.
Offer to customers
To mark its two-decade anniversary, Safaricom unveiled a campaign dubbed Twende Tukiuke, Let’s Go Beyond and a range of offers to its customers. They include: one free call of up to 20 minutes for every customer over the next 30 days, a 20GB data bundle for customers who have been with the company for 20 years and those who turn 20 this year.
For the next 30 days, a promotion 20@20 will enable customers to purchase 20 minutes of call time and 20MBs at KSh20, while for the next 90 days, customers purchasing personalized Tunukiwa voice offers will receive free 20 minutes to call across all networks. Both offers are available on USSD *444# under the ‘Buy Minutes’ option.
Beyond the celebrations, the CEO said, Safaricom will be looking to maintain its focus on purpose and become a technology company by building on the foundation set by his predecessors Michael Joseph and the late Bob Collymore.
Support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
He explained that while the company has grown over the last 20 years into a connectivity business with a payment platform, the plan is to make it a broader technology business that enables individuals to live the lifestyle they need and a brand that empowers businesses, especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
One product targeting the MSME sector includes M-PESA for Business, a service for M-PESA merchants to transact and track M-PESA collections and disbursements.. Dubbed ‘Pochi la Biashara’, the product will enable business owners to separate business and personal loans and sell airtime and earn commissions. Business owners will need to consent to any request to reverse funds transferred to their wallets, which is intended to protect them from unscrupulous customers who reverse payments to personal wallets.
Mr Ndegwa said Safaricom would work with partners to enable SMEs access loans and connectivity as they work to recover from the debilitating effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the business.
He said there are two more packages on the way for SMEs as well as collaborations with partners to build their capacity and ability to use available digital channels.
In health, education and agriculture sectors, Safaricom will create digital ecosystems to support policyholders in health, to empower farmers and to empower students.
The company has already invested in DigiFarm, an integrated mobile platform that offers smallholder farmers access to information on affordable inputs, e-extension services, access to markets and insurance. The platform uses technology to provide farmers with information specific to their farms, and they can use feature phones to access farming tutorials.
In education, Safaricom supports learners via Shupavu291, a system that enables them to access information on phones, and with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing the closure of schools, has worked to improve access to e-learning through provision of special data bundles.
Safaricom is also looking to go beyond Kenya’s borders and has already expressed an interest in going into the Ethiopian market.
Mr Ndegwa said that while M-PESA has been a phenomenal success in Kenya, the company would be looking to take it beyond the country and make it a payment platform across Africa.
In the short term, Safaricom has committed to achieve 100 percent 4G access across Kenya by the end of 2020. To ensure customers enjoy the benefits of 4G, Safaricom launched Lipa Mdogo Mdogo in May 2020. The service enables customers to get a 4G-enabled phone at KSh20 a day.