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.


MWC Kigali: Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa on connectivity in Kenya

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa joined Connecting Africa Editor Paula Gilbert at MWC Kigali 2023 for a video interview to talk about the telecoms market in Kenya.

He shared how the company is working to transition 2G customers off feature phones and onto 4G-enabled smartphones including device financing programs and education projects.

"From a connectivity perspective we believe the job has been largely done, the job to be done now is to make sure that people are able to access the Internet. There are various barriers – access to mobile phones, knowledge around how to use the Internet, and fear about what happens if I go onto the Internet. So, there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure that we connect everyone to the Internet and leave no one behind," he said.

He shared the telco's progress with its 5G rollout. Safaricom was the first operator in Kenya to launch 5G in 2022 and initially had about 300 sites, Ndegwa said. Safaricom is adding another 700-1,000 sites with an aim to have 2,000 5G sites in the next two-years.

"The biggest barrier has been the number of 5G users who have 5G-enabled phones and actually the cost of those 5G-enabled phones. There is about half a million 5G users in Kenya, in a market of 40 million, so it's still very early stage," he explained.

"But we have realized we can use big data analytics to understand which areas we should continue to rollout 5G based on where the devices sit. We are also starting to see the cost of devices reduced and the more they reduce we know there will be a lot of acceleration [in usage]," Ndegwa continued.

He said the initial use case for 5G in Kenya is for fixed wireless access (FWA) as an alternative to fiber.

He spoke about the telco's expansion into Ethiopia last year where it has grown the mobile customer base to over 5 million users and is piloting M-Pesa mobile money services in the Horn of Africa nation.

"Ethiopia is a future play for us, its about investing in the medium to long term. It will power the growth of Safaricom into the future," he said.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

We also spoke about the evolution of fintech in Kenya and Safaricom's strategy to grow M-Pesa in the enterprise market.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

New develoPPP Ventures funding program for SA startups

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has launched develoPPP Ventures, a new funding scheme offering up to €100,000 (US$106,950) for successful startups in South Africa.


Huawei using SA data centers to extend AI cloud adoption

Chinese multinational Huawei is using its three data centers in South Africa to extend artificial intelligence (AI) cloud adoption in the country.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Cyber Revolution Summit
August 9, 2024
Gaborone, Botswana
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: May 2024

By Omdia Analysts

May 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included African 5G subscriptions surpassing 5 million, growth from SpaceX's satellite Internet service Starlink, and a major fiber partnership in the Middle East and North Africa.


How e-mobility could transform Africa's transport sector

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook delves into Africa's e-mobility sector and unpacks the challenges faced locally and the benefits the move to electric vehicles could bring to urban transport systems.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002