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Africa’s Leading Mobile Money Service Is Finally in African Hands

M-Pesa, the East African mobile money service, is now fully owned by two of Africa’s largest telecoms companies. Kenya’s Safaricom and South Africa’s Vodacom have acquired the stake of UK telecoms operator Vodafone, a long-time stakeholder in the service since it was first launched in 2007. Even though the service has been mostly associated with Safaricom over the years, Vodafone has earned license fees from use of the service. But under the new terms of ownership, Safaricom and Vodacom will fully control the M-Pesa’s products, brand and future plans. Given the extensive evidence of M-Pesa’s impact on financial inclusion and services in the seven countries where it operates, including Kenya where it has become deeply entrenched in the local economy, Safaricom and Vodacom, who both have roots with the British mobile phone company, are now looking to expand M-Pesa into even more African countries.