China’s Alipay has more than 700 million customers, whereas WeChat has over one billion, providing customers a huge array of providers, from ordering a pizza to paying their payments, planning a trip and even discovering a dream home. But most of those providers are solely obtainable in China.
Last yr, South African communications firm Vodacom introduced it was partnering with Alipay, a part of China’s Alibaba group, to create a super app that can present a number of monetary providers. Integrating with its VodaPay app, Vodacom says the brand new service will let customers pay utility bills and switch cash, in addition to connecting them with on-line retailers and suppliers.
Vodacom has expertise with cell cash merchandise, and operates Kenyan platform M-Pesa in a number of African international locations, however the brand new app will provide a raft of recent providers, in addition to life-style options reminiscent of trip hailing and music streaming.

Vodacom’s Group CEO Shameel Joosub just lately spoke with NCS’s Eleni Giokos in regards to the evolution of the corporate and its plans for the super app.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.

Eleni Giokos: What does Vodacom plan to do to evolve into a pan-African tech participant?

Shameel Joosub: We’re within the enterprise of connectivity, so it is evolving from cell connectivity into fiber and even into connectivity from house. I feel there are a lot of developments within the monetary providers house. We’re fairly a giant participant with greater than 55 million prospects shopping for a monetary service product from us throughout the continent. Mainly the massive focus is to join the following 100 million individuals, but additionally to drive each digital inclusion and monetary inclusion.

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EG: What type of metrics are you focusing on within the subsequent 24 months?

SJ: On the telco [telecommunications] facet, it is about 5G and actually having the ability to present connectivity to everybody. Secondly, it is within the monetary providers house and bringing via all our completely different actions into a super app, a life-style app, from the place you possibly can pay, from the place you possibly can store, from the place it can save you, from the place you possibly can make investments. That will begin off with the launch of the Alipay app in South Africa this yr, which we’ll name VodaPay.

EG: Why did you are feeling that you simply wanted to workforce up with Alibaba to launch a product like this?

SJ: We moved $24.2 billion a month via the M-Pesa platform, however after we appeared around the globe, we have been fairly excited after we noticed what Alipay was doing. We noticed it nearly as an evolution from the success that we have had and the way they managed to deliver every part collectively on the again of a smartphone.

EG: In phrases of banking the unbanked, wanting on the individuals in rural areas, and equipping budding entrepreneurs in villages — accessibility is necessary, however what else throughout the fintech [financial technology] house will rework the way in which that we dwell in Africa?

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SJ: I feel the super apps play a massive half, proper? Because what you’re giving individuals is the power to promote their merchandise on-line. What you are now doing is giving retailers the power to promote their merchandise to a a lot wider buyer base. So an instance in South Africa, by launching the app, if you happen to expose your product, you are exposing it to all 44 million prospects that we now have in South Africa.

EG: Tell me about the way you hyperlink companies collectively and the potential when you possibly can hyperlink a enterprise that’s working in Kenya to somebody in Nigeria.

SJ: With the VodaPay platform, as we name it, it is creating the chance for you to commerce manner past your geographical space.

Before, if you happen to had a bodily retailer, you have been restricted to a sure geography. What this does, is it opens it up, firstly, inside that nation, but additionally, there isn’t any purpose why somebody sitting in Nigeria can not provide somebody in Kenya, offered you simply get your logistics proper. That’s the massive a part of [what] digitization offers you, transferring into this new world of e-com[merce] the place you possibly can commerce nearly wherever.


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