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After shutting down M-Pesa in South Africa amid weak demand last year, Vodacom is now interestingly set to acquire 35% of Kenya’s Safaricom – a company which has one of the biggest mobile money user bases in the world.
The R35bn ($2.6bn) deal comes as the UK’s Vodafone simplifies its African business structure by transferring its 35% stake in Safaricom to Vodacom. Vodafone is subsequently upping its stake in Vodacom to 70%.
While mobile money has been a flop in South Africa (MTN also shut down its mobile money service in SA last year), the service is a raging success elsewhere in Africa where banking infrastructure is not as widespread.
It will be interesting to see if Vodacom takes the new-found expertise it has in Kenya to have another crack at M-Pesa in South Africa.
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