Safaricom, Kenya’s leading telecommunications company, has seen its stake in the country’s economy reach a staggering $6.7 billion (Ksh 1 trillion).
This represents a 25 percent growth in its contribution to the economy in the financial year ending in March 2023. Safaricom’s increasing value in the economy can be attributed to its sustained creation of over one million jobs during this period.
According to the company’s latest annual sustainability report, Safaricom’s economic activities have directly and indirectly supported nearly 1.16 million jobs. This is a significant figure considering the high demand for employment among the country’s youth. With limited job opportunities available for thousands of individuals graduating from colleges and universities, Safaricom’s sustained contribution to job creation is commendable.
Out of the 1.16 million jobs supported by Safaricom, 236,674 are direct jobs within the company itself. The remaining jobs are derived from the indirect activities associated with Safaricom, such as suppliers and users of its various products. The company’s expenditure not only creates employment within its own workforce but also provides economic benefits to its suppliers. As a result, additional income is generated, which is then spent on the consumption of goods and services. This cyclical process has a positive impact on the broader economy by stimulating demand for products and services produced within the country.
In terms of financial value, Safaricom’s contribution to the economy stands at Sh909.5 billion, a significant increase from the previous year’s figure of Sh727.2 billion. This means that the company’s contribution is equivalent to 14.6 times its net profit of Sh62.3 billion during the same period. Furthermore, Safaricom’s contribution represents 5.1 percent of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP). These figures highlight the company’s significant role in the country’s economic growth and development.
Safaricom’s impact on the Kenyan economy goes beyond its financial numbers. The company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices further enhances its contribution. Through various initiatives, Safaricom has actively worked towards addressing social challenges and promoting environmental sustainability. This holistic approach ensures that the company’s economic activities have a positive and lasting impact on the communities it serves.
Safaricom has estimated that its annual revenue of Sh311 billion has a significant economic impact, contributing approximately Sh660.9 billion to the GDP. The value added through our operations has increased by 3.4 percent to Sh542 billion, while the social value derived from M-Pesa has grown by 17.7 percent to Sh325 billion. This growth can be attributed to the increased number of users and the average number and value of transactions made per customer.
M-Pesa plays a crucial role in the national payments system, employing thousands of agents and being widely used by merchants for processing payments. Additionally, M-Pesa agents across the country account for a significant portion of the direct jobs associated with Safaricom, with a total of 270,360 agents.
In addition to M-Pesa, Safaricom also supports 432 dealers who sell data, devices, and airtime on our behalf. Furthermore, we have a network of 720 suppliers who contribute to our operations. Last year, we spent Sh102 billion on procurement of goods and services from both local and foreign suppliers, which in turn created a substantial number of jobs, totaling over one million.
Safaricom has been committed to sustainability for the past 12 years and has been releasing sustainability reports to outline our actions, opportunities, and challenges in powering the tech ecosystem in Kenya. We adhere to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles and have prioritised nine of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as part of our framework to deliver our purpose. We believe that sustainability is not just a good thing to do, but the right thing to do. We adopt a co-creation approach in achieving our goals.
Peter Ndegwa, the CEO of Safaricom, stated, “For Safaricom, sustainability is not just a good thing to do, but the right thing to do. We have formalised this approach by prioritising nine of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which we use as a framework to deliver our purpose, adopting a co-creation approach.”
Safaricom, a company with a rich history spanning over 25 years, holds the esteemed position of being the largest listed firm on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). With a market capitalization of Sh 586.96 billion, it is also Kenya’s most profitable company.
In an effort to comprehensively assess its impact on society, the environment, and the economy, Safaricom has been utilising the KPMG ‘True Value’ methodology since 2015. This structured impact modelling tool allows the company to quantify both the positive and negative effects it has on various aspects of society.
By combining financial earnings data with monetized externality data, Safaricom is able to determine the likelihood and impact of these external factors becoming internalised within the organisation. This approach provides a holistic understanding of the company’s overall value.
Looking ahead, Safaricom has set its sights on deepening its sustainability agenda and transforming into a purpose-led technology company by 2025. To support this vision, the company recently entered into an agreement with a consortium of local and foreign banks to raise Sh15 billion in sustainability-linked loans. This credit facility, which has the potential to expand to Sh20 billion, has been established with esteemed institutions such as KCB Group, Absa, Standard Bank of South Africa, and Standard Chartered.
Through this agreement, Safaricom will have access to funding that is contingent upon its progressive achievement of predetermined milestones across various environmental, social, and governance (ESG) areas. This strategic partnership will enable Safaricom to finance its sustainable growth strategy and further solidify its commitment to responsible business practices.