Safaricom - 2020 Sustainable Business Report

SAFARICOM 2020 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS REPORT 14 INTRODUCTION OUR BUSINESS OUR MATERIAL TOPICS OUR STAKEHOLDERS CONCLUDING REMARKS are going to shift our mindset and no longer consider customer experience from a capacity perspective, but from a customer obsession perspective, where everyone in the organization will own customer centricity as the most important part of their job. This will entail listening more to our customers, drawing from their frustrations and imagination to co-create better solutions. I believe that this shift will intensify the connection with our customers and with our purpose even deeper. Shared value partnerships The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of partnerships. As my late predecessor, Bob Collymore, pointed out: we cannot solve the urgent, widespread challenges created by inequality in our society in isolation. The public sector cannot achieve this without the help of the private sector. We need to connect and collaborate if we are to tackle such multi-dimensional and pervasive social challenges. The pandemic has already reinforced the necessity of this approach, whether we are partnering with the Ministry of Health to disseminate public health information or partnering with the banks to provide micro- businesses with vital financial support through M-PESA. Supporting SMEs We need to support micro-businesses and SMEs. Some estimates suggest that small businesses provide employment to around 80 per cent of Kenyans and account for as much as 40 per cent of all economic activity. Small enterprises like these are the heart of our society and the lifeblood of our economy. Our Lipa Na M-PESA merchants fit into this category and we are already witnessing the negative impact of the pandemic on their activity. In response, we have increased transaction limits and zero- rated person-to-person transactions below KSh 1 000 and M-PESA wallet to bank transactions. It is a great start, but we know that more will need to be done to help SMEs get back on track. In our efforts to support SMEs recover from the impacts of COVID-19, we aspire to be the partner of choice in enabling the small businesses grow and thrive. To achieve this, we will deepen our partnerships across our various business ecosystems. We have already begun exploring ways in which we can partner with government and the banks in this regard. We are also looking at how we can continue to expand our merchant till app from a payment platform into a holistic suite of business tools; for example, we will be launching the Lipa Na M-PESA Business app in the near future. This app will empower SMEs and micro- business owners to access statements, make payments, and monitor their business performance in real-time. Connecting a million low-income Kenyans to the internet Despite the high level of mobile telephone penetration in Kenya, a large section of the population is unable to afford 3G- and 4G-enabled devices and still relies on 2G-enabled (voice and SMS) handsets. We recognise that this digital divide will take time to bridge, but I am passionate about doing so. We upgraded 1 551 sites to 4G, which increased the 4G coverage to an additional 20 per cent of the population. We will be supplementing the growth in 4G coverage with device financing plans such as Lipa Mdogo Mdogo. A partnership with Google and Teleone, the Lipa Mdogo Mdogo offering will enable customers to upgrade to affordable 4G-enabled handsets using a flexible payment plan and from as little as KSh 20 a day. Our aim is to enable a million more low-income Kenyans to connect to the internet through this campaign. Developing the untapped agricultural potential of Kenya The pandemic has exposed an unacceptable level of food insecurity in a country with great agricultural potential like ours. Having grown up in rural Nyandarua County, I am acutely aware of the tremendous socio- economic benefits that can be gained by supporting and empowering smallholder farmers like my parents. The fact that 1.4 million farmers have already signed up to use our DigiFarm platform is extremely pleasing and I am committed to intensifying our efforts in terms of leveraging our technological capabilities and our capacity for innovation to create sustainable solutions like this. Shared value thinking to drive sustainable innovation Safaricom has played an important role in Kenyan society for the last 20 years and I am eager to see that role expand as we continue to identify and exploit new opportunities in critical areas like agriculture, health and education. DigiFarm is a great example of our commitment to shared value thinking and our focus on creating sustainable business solutions, but I am excited by the vast opportunities that still exist for commercially viable innovations that deliver lasting, high levels of social impact.