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Kenya Safaricom to launch e-commerce
platform to diversify revenues

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan telcom operator, Safaricom, plans to launch an e-commerce platform in order to diversify its revenue base.

Safaricom Chief Financial Officer Satesh Kamath told an investor briefing in Nairobi Friday that the digital platform dubbed Masoko will initially have 200 vendors offering over 30,000 products.

“The e-commerce platform will connect businesses to other businesses as well as businesses to consumers,” Kamath said when Safaricom released its half year financial results for the half year ended Sept. 30. He noted that trust remains a key barrier to online shopping in Kenya.

“We hope to overcome this challenge by engaging only reputable businesses on the digital platform,” he added. Kamath said that the e-commerce platform comes at an ideal time when Kenya has very fast and reliable internet.

According to the Communication Authority of Kenya April/June 2017 report, Kenya has about 28 million mobile money subscriptions.

Kamath said that the digital platform will tap into the growing interest of online shopping among Kenyans.

“More and more Kenyans are turning to e-commerce due to its convenience at delivering quality goods at affordable prices,” the chief financial officer said.

He noted that the potential market for online shopping has not been fully exploited by current e-commerce platforms available in the country.

“We see a huge opportunity which we can fully serve by leveraging on our existing mobile money technology,” he said.

The Safaricom official added that the widespread availability of mobile payment platforms has made it possible for Kenya to engage in e-commerce.

According to the financial results of Safaricom for the six months to Sept. 30, net profit was 262 million U.S. dollars, representing a 9.5 percent increase compared to a similar period last year.

Similarly, service revenue grew by 12 percent to reach 1.09 billion dollars while the total customer base increased by 10.8 percent to hit 29.5 million subscribers.



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