We are committed to supporting financial inclusion through our products and services.
Financial inclusion is key to reducing extreme poverty. Nevertheless, approximately 1.7 billion people in the world still have no access to banking facilities, an issue that affects significantly more women than men.
In 2007, together with our Kenyan associate, Safaricom, we developed the first mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa. This provides financial services to millions of people who have a mobile phone but limited access to a bank account.
We are aware that a cash-based society has many inherent problems, from safety and skimming (falsely registered workers) to the inability to get money to people who need it without significant travel, no possibility of getting a loan to start or improve a business, accessing health or other kinds of insurance.
Finding ways to improve access to financial services and support entrepreneurship will bring significant social benefits and economic opportunities
In April 2020, Vodacom and Safaricom completed the acquisition of the M-PESA brand and the product development team from Vodafone Group through M-PESA Africa, a newly created joint venture.
The joint venture will help consolidate M-PESA as the largest FinTech company in Africa and accelerate the growth of M-PESA across the continent.
As of March 2021, 48.3 million customers were using M-PESA (or equivalent), with over 15.2 billion transactions made in the year (1.4 million per hour on average) through a network of more than 919,882 agents.
In the last year we disbursed €4 billion in loans and overdrafts across our markets.
We also launched a lending marketplace in Tanzania and Mozambique to enable lenders to easily integrate and offer a range of credit products with tailored pricing and terms to millions of customers and businesses.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we implemented measures to support customers across our markets and promote digital payments as a safer way to transact than cash. These included removing fees on person-to-person transactions, increasing transaction and balance limits in partnership with the regulators and creating more flexible customer registration processes.
In Kenya, only one in five of the population has some form of financial protection from healthcare costs*.
Safaricom’s M-TIBA is a service that allows anyone to send, save and spend funds specifically for medical treatment using their mobile phone. Money stored in M-TIBA can only be used to pay for treatment and medication at M-TIBA-registered clinics and hospitals.
M-TIBA is helping streamline the management of large-scale health financing schemes from insurers, the government and donors and is helping to make healthcare more accessible. There are now more than four million users of M-TIBA. Since launching in 2016, partners using the service have processed over 330,000 healthcare visits and have paid out over €5 million in medical costs.
As mobile penetration in Kenya is above 95%, M-TIBA is emerging as a secure and scalable platform to roll out essential health finance products.
*Kenya Utilisation Survey, 2014