Betty Mwangi-Thuo, chief new products officer, Safaricom

One of three women on Kenyan operator Safaricom’s 12-strong senior management team, Betty Mwangi-Thuo is chief officer for new products. She oversees the firm’s value added service department, as well as all of its projects that intersect with the GSM Association.

But it is the fact that she’s responsible for the M-PESA mobile financial service that makes her inclusion on this list essential. M-PESA, which was the first mobile money transfer system in Kenya, has been a ground-breaking service and drawn plaudits from across the world, as well as a number of imitators. As of March 2010, the service had more than 9.5 million subscribers and an agency network estimated in size at more than 17,000.

Safaricom says that by the end of Q1 this year, M-PESA had handled more than Sh405bn ($5.6bn) in person to person transfers. As a service that proves the success and potential of mobile financial solutions in markets with large numbers of unbanked subscribers, M-PESA has few challengers.

Mwangi-Thuo joined Safaricom in December 2007, having previously worked at regional satellite service provider Afsat Communications as chief marketing officer. She was responsible for developing and managing the firm’s distributor network in 26 African nations. Prior to this she spent five years working for GlaxoSmithKline.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the UK’s Victoria University of Manchester and an MBA from the University of Leicester.

One comment

  1. Avatar Eddie 01/10/2010 @ 11:50 am

    Now that’s great, we need such role models in Kenya….and some in the Kenyan government. Well done Betty

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