Microsoft and Vodafone extend M-PESA financial inclusion across Africa

  • Microsoft and Vodafone have announced the signing of a 10-year strategic relationship focusing on technology within the African continent.
  • Part of the partnership will focus on M-PESA and extending the reach of the financial inclusion services it offers.
  • The partnership will also look at generative AI, digital services, and the cloud for businesses on the continent.

This week Microsoft and Vodafone announced the signing on a 10-year strategic partnership where the pair are planning to leverage their respective strengths in offering scaled digital platforms to more than 300 million businesses, public sector organisations, and consumers across Europe and Africa.

Regarding the latter territory, M-PESA is expected to be a key focus, as both companies wish to extend the reach of the platform’s financial inclusion across the African contient.

“Microsoft intends to help further scale M-Pesa, already the largest financial technology platform in Africa, by housing it on Azure and enabling the launch of new cloud-native applications,” the pair highlighted in a release shared with Hypertext.

“The companies are also launching a purpose-led program that seeks to enrich the lives of 100 million consumers and 1 million SMEs across the African continent. The goal is to enhance digital literacy, skilling and youth outreach programs, as well as offer digital services to the underserved SME market. The partnership aims to boost financial services innovation, building a community of certified developers,” they added.

Outside of M-PESA, the potential for AI will also form a key focus as part of this newly announced strategic partnership. To that end, “Vodafone will invest $1.5 billion over the next 10 years in cloud and customer-focused AI services developed in conjunction with Microsoft. Additionally, Microsoft will use Vodafone’s fixed and mobile connectivity services.”

“Microsoft also intends to invest in Vodafone’s managed IoT connectivity platform, which will become a separate, standalone business by April 2024. The new company will attract new partners and customers, driving growth in applications and expanding the platform to connect more devices, vehicles and machines,” the release explained.

What the next decade will hold remains to be seen for both companies, but it is clear that delivering AI to more businesses across the African continent will be a critical element to future plans, along with M-PESA assisting in terms of finance for those operating in the region.


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