Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Michael Joseph Returns to Lead Safaricom

Article Image
Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph will be stepping back into the role in an interim capacity after the death of CEO Bob Collymore on Monday morning.

The decision was made at a special board meeting of the Safaricom directors on Monday and Joseph will take up the role of interim CEO with immediate effect.

"Mr. Joseph will hold this position until the board communicates in due course, on a permanent appointment," the Kenyan telecoms operator said in a statement Tuesday morning.

Joseph was Safaricom CEO for ten years before retiring in November 2010, when he handed over the role to Collymore. Joseph is a Safaricom board member and the current chairman of the board of Kenya Airways.

Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph, seen here on the left during the 'Safaricom at 18' celebration in October 2018, is stepping back into the role in an interim capacity.
Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph, seen here on the left during the 'Safaricom at 18' celebration in October 2018, is stepping back into the role in an interim capacity.

"The board is confident that during this transition, Mr. Joseph will provide the necessary guidance and leadership to the company and its employees," the statement said.

On Monday the market was shocked by the news that Collymore had lost his battle with cancer at his home in Nairobi in the early hours of the morning. (See Bob Collymore Loses His Battle With Cancer.)

The Guyanese-born British citizen had for several years been battling acute myeloid leukemia and had taken several months of medical leave between October 2017 and July 2018 to receive treatment abroad.

Collymore was expected to step down as CEO later this year but in May 2019 Safaricom extended his contract for another year, to August 2020. (See Collymore Extends His Stay at Safaricom.)

It seemed his health had improved, but Safaricom said that his condition had worsened in recent weeks.

Safaricom, which is 35% owned by the Kenyan government, controls about 63% of Kenya's mobile market, with almost 31.9 million subscribers. South African operator Vodacom also owns 35% of the company, while Britain's Vodafone has a 5% stake.

During his previous tenure as CEO, Joseph steered the company from a subscriber base of less than 20,000 to more than 16.7 million subscribers. M-Pesa, the popular mobile money transfer service, was also launched under his leadership. His achievements during that tenure secured Joseph a place in the Light Reading Hall of Fame earlier this year. (See this video from 4:33 to 6:27.)

Safaricom recently posted a 7.1% year-on-year rise in revenues, and a 10.7% increase in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), for the year ended March 2019, driven by a 19.2% boost in revenues from M-Pesa services. (See Safaricom Delivers Solid Growth in FY19.)

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Hot startup of the month: SA's FlexClub

South African startup FlexClub has launched a managed marketplace that helps independent drivers on digital platforms become vehicle owners.


Econet and X's Project Taara join forces to connect Africa

Econet Group and Google X's Project Taara are teaming up to deploy new high-speed Internet technology to communities across sub-Saharan Africa.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

AfricaCom perspectives


AfricaCom Interview: Onica Makwakwa on closing the digital gender gap

The Alliance for Affordable Internet's head of Africa, Onica Makwakwa, shares her views on how to narrow the digital gender gap and the challenges keeping women offline on the continent.


AfricaCom Interview: Tunde Fafunwa on how the ACIP is fighting COVID-19

Tunde Fafunwa from the UN Economic Commission for Africa explains how the Africa Communication and Information Platform (ACIP) is helping Africa's battle against COVID-19.


AfricaCom Interview: Temidayo Oniosun on Africa's space and satellite industry

Space in Africa founder, Temidayo Oniosun, shares his views on the challenges and opportunities in the African space and satellite industry.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Partner perspectives

SD-WAN and satellite – how MNOs and telcos can enjoy the best of both worlds
By Ofer Asif, SVP BizDev, marketing and strategy at Spacecom

Africa's mobile operators need better roaming monetization for growth
By Damion Rose, product manager for Mobile Signaling and Roaming Solutions at BICS

How Africa's operators are driving socio-economic development
By Clémentine Fournier, VP Sales Africa at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Green ICT Forum
December 2, 2020
Virtual Event
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

AfricaCom 2020 Digital Symposium - Day 2

Session One

Mobile Money 2.0: the Bright Future of Mobile Financial Service Innovation
Date: 08/20/20 @ 11:00 A.M. SAST

Speaker: Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Africa was the birthplace of Mobile Money and while it continues to rise in popularity, the industry is quickly evolving and launching more mobile-based financial services every day. In this Connecting Africa online event, local analysts and industry stakeholders will discuss how telcos are disrupting the financial services space and what the rise of Mobile Money 2.0 will look like for Africa.

  • From cash to mobile: heading towards a cashless society
  • Expanding MFS offerings beyond mobile money transfers
  • MNOs vs banks vs fintechs: an evolving competitive landscape
  • Unconnected and unbanked: fintech to improve financial inclusion
  • The rise of micro-loans and insurance through mobile platforms

12:15 P.M. - 12:30 P.M. BREAK

Session Two

Connecting the Next Billion: Strategies for Getting Africa On-Grid
Date 08/20/20 @ 12:30 P.M. SAST

Speaker: Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Africa has the fastest growing population in the world and also the youngest, with 60% of Africans under the age of 25. It is clear that the next billion connected are going to be the mobile-only generation. This digital symposium will bring industry experts together to discuss Africa’s digital divide and how to get devices into the hands of young Africans and empower them to join the digital revolution.

  • Who’s Driving? The role of government & regulator, private tech companies, and public-private partnerships
  • Device affordability: are we reaching a tipping point?
  • Status check: Satellite vs Fiber and the enduring infrastructure gap
  • Exploring the wider societal and economic benefits of a connected, digitally literate continent

More Webinars


Safaricom Spark Fund Portfolio

Infographics archive


AfricaCom 2019 Preview

Slideshow archive

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up