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.


Safaricom to lose $51.5M due to COVID-19 M-Pesa relief

Article Image
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to cause a 5.5 billion Kenyan shilling (US$51.5 million) decline in Safaricom's M-Pesa revenue for the three months from mid-March. This is according to a Reuters report which quotes the Kenyan telco's new CEO.

The revenue loss works out to about 7% of the mobile money platform's annual earnings.

The drop comes after Safaricom in March made all person-to-person transactions on M-Pesa below 1,000 Kenyan shillings (US$9.40) free for 90 days. This was to help boost cashless payments and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 through the physical handling of cash.

However, CEO Peter Ndegwa, who took the helm on April 1, is reportedly not worried by the projected revenue loss.

"We are in a good place to be able to weather this storm, but our business is linked to how the country comes out on the other side," Ndegwa told Reuters.

Peter Ndegwa officially took over as Safaricom CEO on April 1, 2020.
Peter Ndegwa officially took over as Safaricom CEO on April 1, 2020.

The Kenyan government has restricted the movement of people and has imposed a countrywide curfew between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. The East African nation had 281 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, and 14 deaths from the virus.

Globally, there are over 2.4 million cases of COVID-19 and 169,863 people have died, while over a quarter of those infected have already recovered from the virus according to a Reuters tally.

Safaricom is Kenya's leading mobile operator with over 33 million customers and a market share of close to 66%. The telco pioneered commercial mobile money transfer through M-Pesa, which launched in 2007, and which now has over 22.6 million active customers.

Data boom
Safaricom has also experienced a surge in data traffic due to COVID-19, with Kenyans forced to work and study from home.

According to Business Daily, Safaricom has seen a 40% surge in traffic. The newspaper quoted Ndegwa saying the combined data carried on a daily basis via mobile and fixed home Internet had reached 2.34PB (petabytes), translating to 5 million hours of continuous viewing.

Safaricom has reportedly doubled Internet speeds for its 300,000 fiber customers and is accelerating the installation of new fiber connections as demand rises.

Safaricom is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) with annual revenues in excess of KES200 billion ($1.9 billion). South Africa's Vodacom owns a 35% stake in the operator, the Kenyan government another 35% stake, while 25% is traded on the NSE and the Vodafone Group owns a further 5%.

The Staff, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Hot startup of the month: Kenya's Swifttdial

Kenyan company Swifttdial is helping companies in Kenya and Nigeria set up cloud-based virtual call centers, with plans to expand further into West Africa.


Hot startup of the month: Egyptian telemedicine platform Vezeeta

Vezeeta, an Egyptian telemedicine platform, had a big 2020, raising US$40 million in Series D funding and expanding its healthtech services into Kenya and Nigeria.

More Innovation hub

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Flash poll

All polls

Latest video

More videos

Upcoming events

East Africa Com
May 11-12, 2021
Virtual Event
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Sponsored 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

How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

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

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up