Kenya: 5 Things Kenyans Will Remember Bob Collymore for

Safaricom's founding chief executive Michael Joseph (left) with the late Bob Collymore who succeeded him at the telecom giant (file photo).

Nairobi — What will you remember the late Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore for? Jackline Kibisu, an employee at Safaricom says her late boss made motherhood bearable.

In a Facebook post, Kibisu says Collymore, who succumbed to cancer on Monday aged 61, charmed mothers by introducing 4 months leave and allowed them 6 months working half days post maternity leave.

"He also introduced 7 AM to 5.30 PM creche/daycare with qualified professional caregivers, fully equipped lactation rooms and maternity leave after baby adoption. Case by case increased medical covers for children with special needs, baby-friendly vaccines in the cover and great maternity cover for normal and CS (caesarian section) deliveries, etc.," Kibisu writes.

Below is a list of things the rest of Kenya shall remember him for:

Growth of M-Pesa

When Collymore took up the Chief Executive seat close to 9 years ago, M-Pesa was simply a SIM card-based money transfer application. Close to a decade later, the service is now a fully-fledged financial service, offering loans and savings in collaboration with local banks.

Data from the Central Bank of Kenya shows that in 2010, revenue from M-Pesa stood at Sh11.78 billion. Today, revenue from M-Pesa in Kenya alone hit Sh62.9 billion for the year ended March 2018.

M-Pesa Academy

Under the leadership of Collymore, Safaricom introduced M-Pesa Academy, a state of the art school, described as a co-educational and residential high school offering the Kenya National Curriculum. Today, the Sh3 billion ultra-modern academy has 800 students from poor families.


It was also under the leadership of Collymore that Safaricom helped millions of Kenyans get banking services. Safaricom launched M-Shwari in late 2012, a service that provides financial access to millions of Kenyans who were previously unbanked. The service gave them access to micro savings and micro credit straight from their phones.

The service, which is in partnership with CBA bank, had more than 10 million users in 2015. Available data shows that only 14 percent of the Kenyan population had bank accounts in 2006 compared to 34.4 percent in 2016. The growth was driven mainly by the availability of mobile banking.

Skiza Tunes

During his tenure at the helm of the firm, Collymore was also able to grow the usage of Safaricom's ring back tunes application, Skiza.

The application has enabled close to 21,000 artistes to monetize their talent by selling their songs to customers through the ring back platform.

The company says it channels Sh200 million to Kenyan artistes every month, who earn 30 percent on SKIZA earnings.

M-Pesa Agents

Under his leadership, M-Pesa has continued to steadily create employment for Kenyans around the country. For instance, in April 2011, the company reported having had 27,988 M-Pesa agents. The number had steadily risen to 152,077 agents by April 2018.

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