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Vodafone snaps up M-Pesa pioneer

Michael Joseph takes over as Vodafone's MD for mobile payments

Vodafone Group has appointed M-Pesa pioneer Michael Joseph as its new managing director for mobile payments.

Joseph was instrumental in establishing the M-Pesa money transfer service in Kenya, Tanzania and Afghanistan in his previous role as Safari Telecom’s chief executive. Safaricom is a Vodafone affiliate.

Vodafone is now rolling out the M-Pesa service in more African markets, such as South Africa, and said that it is also targeting India, which it hopes could prove to be a major market for the operator.

In addition, Joseph is expected to be instrumental in rolling out Vodafone’s near-field communication (NFC) services, according to the operator.

“It’s all part of our strategy to focus on new services such as M2M, mobile-payments and, of course, growing M-Pesa,” said a Vodafone spokesperson.

He explained that the M-Pesa service has 27m users globally, and accounts for 12.5 per cent of revenue for the Vodafone Group in Kenya.

The role of managing director for mobile payments is a newly created role, so Joseph does not replace an existing employee, but will head part of a business that had previously been fragmented.

“We’ve had people looking into this area but it hasn’t all been pulled together until now, but he will work as part of our commercial division and pull together all of the mobile payment strings into one division.”

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One comment

  1. sp shukla 20/12/2011 @ 5:11 am

    This is a worthy appointment for a pioneer in mobile transactions. Michael has done a tremendous job. I have been observing m-pesa’s progress with great interest from India. Best wishes to him for more innovations in this field. SP Shukla , Member Group Executive Board, Mahindra Group

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