Safaricom’s operations generated more than 682,000 jobs directly and indirectly in the Kenyan economy last year, a study by consulting firm KPMG shows.
The report, which was commissioned by Safaricom, shows that the telecommunication company’s voice, data and M-Pesa business generated the direct and indirect jobs through the telco’s products and services such as airtime dealers, M-Pesa agents and distributors.
Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore said the ‘True Value’ report is meant to offer insights into the full economic impact of the telco.
“ICT is a driver for growth. It is a tool for our customers to connect, access information and do business,” said Mr Collymore yesterday during the release of the report.
The KPMG study attempted to measure the value Safaricom creates in East Africa’s largest economy beyond the bottom-line.
“We wanted to quantify the role played by the company in the society by looking at jobs, taxes paid, social and environmental externalities,” said Neill Morris, director of financial risk management at KPMG.
“We were very conservative in the study,” added Mr Morris.
The listed telco had 4,251 employees in the period to March 2015.
The additional jobs were generated through Safaricom’s chain of 485 dealers and 275,000 airtime retailers, 85,756 M-Pesa agents, and other third-party engagements such as banks, supermarkets, utility firms and insurance companies that use the telco’s services.
Safaricom spent Sh89.9 billion last year on procurement of goods and services from a total of 994 suppliers, who in turn created a significant portion of the 0.6 million jobs.
The telco’s total business operations generated Sh315 billion in the economy in the year to March, equivalent to six per cent of Kenya’s GDP, the KPMG report says.
This is tenfold the Sh31.8 billion full-year net profit made by Safaricom. It has a total of 23.35 million customers with nearly two thirds of them being active M-Pesa users.
Safaricom – owned 35 per cent by the Kenyan government – paid taxes, levies and licence fees totalling Sh54.8 billion in the review period.
The utility of mobile phone has greatly expanded with the birth of smart phones and mobile money, which greatly expanded what users can do with the gadgets.
Studies by the World Bank show that a 10 per cent growth in mobile subscription yields an estimated 1.2 per cent growth in GDP across the economy.
“Mobile technology has transformed the way in which economic activity is carried out in virtually all the sectors of the global economy, allowing more efficient ways for workers and businesses to communicate and access information,” reads a GSMA report titled The Mobile Economy 2015.
Kenya had 29.6 million Internet users as at June 2015, with mobile data accounting for 99 per cent of the total subscriptions, data from the Communications Authority shows.
The 2013 FinAccess survey credits mobile money services such as M-Pesa with the more than doubling of Kenya’s banked population to 67 per cent from a low of 26.1 per cent in 2009.