In the year 2000, we began the Safaricom journey with a view to Transform Lives. Safaricom is one of a small group of about 400 companies across Africa whose annual revenues are more than $1 billion. Many of these companies are pan-African in their operations and are active in increasingly diverse sectors.
We invest a unique way of doing business through our Purpose; to ‘Transform Lives’. We seek to create opportunities for Kenyans to be a part of our growth story by empowering them with the right tools for economic growth. The “Simu ya Jamii” innovation allowed Kenyans to earn money from operating small, mobile pay phones.
We achieve our Transforming Lives vision through a number of channels, but the origin of our most impactful transformation stories is the base station. We now have over 4,000 towers connecting Kenyans from Turbo to Turkana with each one of these base stations having its own unique story to tell.
The Kapedo Base Station Story
This base station was put up in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, in the town of Kapedo, which is deep in what is called the valley of death. For years, the resident communities had been engaged in daily inter-tribal clashes. After months of deliberation and negotiation, we were finally able to put up a base station in the area. We discovered that the base station created more than just access to a mobile phone signal. It became a source of power for the first time for the community. It also provided a lifeline to help the community alert security agencies when threatened. It became the link that enables residents to get access to healthcare services, which can be delivered through mobile solutions. It created opportunities for children to access education, just like other children located anywhere else in Kenya. One base station can Transform Lives.
Partnerships that Transform Communities
Through our partnerships with various groups, we are delivering more than just voice or data to communities across Kenya.
M-TIBA was developed out of strategic partnership between CarePay, PharmAccess Foundation and Safaricom. It leverages our respective strengths to deliver healthcare solutions to over 100,000 Kenyans through 60 health care providers all for less than KSHs.300.
We have also partnered with the Government numerous times to extend more services to the Kenyan citizen by digitising primary schools, connecting health centres, streamlining payments to farmers and much more. By working with Eneza Education, we are enabling over 1 million children to access interactive educational material through the very simplest of mobile phones. Children from Class Four all the way to Form 4 can chat live with a teacher through either USSD or SMS, an online web app, an offline desktop app, or an Android app.
Food through M-PESA
In the camps of Kakuma and Daadab, M-PESA is restoring dignity to thousands of refugees. Through a partnership with the World Food Programme, we are leveraging M-PESA to help more refugees access food, through a product known as Chakula Chap Chap. M-PESA has enabled us to digitize food delivery for over 100,000 households. It has removed the opportunity for corruption by eliminating middle-men, and reduced the cost of distributing relief aid, creating employment and business opportunities for people in refugee camps. This initiative has shown us that our business can help bridge critical gaps for our society.
Safaricom and the Sustainable Development Goals
One of the biggest challenges facing our business today is how to create sustainable growth and at the same time leave no Kenyan behind in our growth story. This is why we adopted nine out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help guide our company into the next phase of its growth.
The SDGs are humanity’s shared vision of the actions that we need to take to create growth for everyone to benefit, and thus form a social contract between the world’s leaders and our people. Safaricom was the first Kenyan company to integrate sustainability deep into the core of our every business decision. We are using the SDGs to transform and boost the success of our business and enhance our Transforming Lives agenda.
Relevant Solutions that Transform Lives
We have delivered solutions such as the Safaricom App and Hakikisha, which gives our customers more control over how they use our network. We became the first operator in the world to introduce real time refunds for call drops. Since launch of the Safaricom Guarantee service in May 2016, the number of recorded uncompleted calls on the network registered at less than 0.14% of total calls. More importantly, this activity has given us an unprecedented view of our customers that helps us to ensure that our services remain relevant and optimised for this market.
We introduced My Data Manager, which is now being used by over 3 million subscribers to manage their data consumption. Customers are now paying 16% less for data, which allows every shilling to go further. This is part of the reason why we’re proud to have maintained our number one Net Promoter Score position, ahead of our nearest competitor by 13 points. We also diversified the Bonga proposition to allow subscribers to use points for more than just network services.
Growing with our partners
We have made a conscious choice to grow with our partners, who are using our mobile platform to deliver unique services that meet the needs of Kenyans. We have co-created first-of-their-kind solutions alongside partners like Craft Silicon to produce the taxi hailing app, Little; as well as partnering with M-Survey to roll out a customer feedback solution.
Through our Spark Fund, we have invested in growing companies such as Lynk and Sendy to build the profile of new industries based on mobile and e-commerce. These engagements have allowed us to diversify our income to meet the needs of more customers, and have led to a shift in our revenues that we expect will characterise the company for years to come.
Building a network for the future
We have started delivering the network of the future through 4G, which is now available in over 30 counties in Kenya. We rolled out 635 sites, which means we are now approaching 1,000 4G stations. Our investment in a second generation M-PESA network allows us to process over 21,000 M-PESA transactions every minute, and provide access to two mobile-based loans every second.