Safaricom Plc, Kenya’s leading mobile firm, is looking for partnerships with fund managers and investment banks as it seeks to become a fully-fledged financial services provider.
“Safaricom Plc is in negotiations with fund managers, investment banks and insurance companies to partner on a raft of mobile phone-based savings and wealth-management products,” said Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom’s CEO, in an interview in Nairobi.
He told Bloomberg that the firm would seek approval from the Central Bank of Kenya(CBK) for the products over the next 1-1/2 years, without disclosing any further details.
Safaricom is said to be in talks with financial-services providers about expanding its offerings in the next few years, as it seeks to emulate Ant Group’s Alipay’s success.
“We want our customers to feel they have a channel they can use to access products that are in the market,” the CEO said.
Interests by Safaricom in Kenya’s financial markets are happening against the background of a raging debate on whether Safaricom should separate its cash transfer business from telecoms.
Suggestions have been made that M-PESA services should be under the supervision of the CBK while telecoms are regulated by the Communications Authority(CA).