Vodacom Group will become one of the strongest players in Africa’s burgeoning mobile money market after the completion of its acquisition of a 35 per cent stake in Safaricom, according to CEO Shameel Joosub (pictured).
In a statement announcing its minority shareholders had rubber-stamped the ZAR35 billion ($2.7 billion) deal, Joosub said the company had reached an important milestone on its “journey to become a leading digital company and empowering a connected society.”
“This is an exciting deal that provides Vodacom shareholders with access to a high growth, high margin and high cash generating business in the attractive Kenyan market.”
“The proposed transaction increases our presence in East Africa and makes Vodacom a formidable player in financial services on the continent,” he added.
Vodacom’s acquisition, which is still subject to clearance by authorities in Kenya and South Africa, would see the operator purchase the stake from its parent company Vodafone Group.
Since the proposal was first tabled in May, the chiefs of both Vodacom and Safaricom have talked-up the deal as an opportunity to export Safaricom’s m-Pesa strategy to lucrative new markets across the continent.
Joosub is yet to reveal which countries Vodacom will target. However according to reports in Bloomberg, the company is assessing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where neither Safaricom or Vodacom has a presence.
Vodacom already runs its version of m-Pesa in its operations in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Lesotho.
The company discontinued the service in its home market of South Africa in June 2016. At the time, Joosub blamed the “high level of financial inclusion” in the country for the service failing to achieve the critical mass of users needed to make it a success.