Kenya’s largest mobile services provider Safaricom is launching deep to capture untapped market in Africa. The telco wants to expand its e-commerce solutions dubbed Masoko first to East Africa countries and later shoot long into West Africa.
“I wanted to take the company’s planned e-commerce platform, Masoko, into the white space… space that no one is in at the moment,” Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore.
Safaricom plans to roll out Masoko in Kenya later this year, with the aim of launching the platform in four or five African countries within three years.
“I don’t think we’ll step out of Africa because that’s too far and you have lots of other challenges,” Collymore said.
Mr. Collymore seemingly has designs on establishing an operation similar to China’s Alibaba, which combines e-commerce and mobile payments. He plans to create a marketplace connecting businesses to consumers and other businesses.
Safaricom’s planned expansion will be funded by its mobile business in Kenya, which recorded profit of $685 million in the year to end-March 2017. Sales grew 32 per cent year-on-year, largely driven by its m-Pesa mobile money service.
Mr. Collymore, who was in May handed a two year extension to his contract as CEO, added the company’s long-term goals have been aided by the completion of Vodacom’s 35 per cent stake acquisition of the Kenyan operator from parent company Vodafone Group.
“This really unshackled us,” said Collymore, stating that prior to this anything outside of Kenya was “Vodacom’s territory”, as far as Vodafone was concerned.