oikosPublicationsCasesVodafone M-PESA (A): Turning a corporate social responsibility innovation into a mainstream business opportunity

Vodafone M-PESA (A): Turning a corporate social responsibility innovation into a mainstream business opportunity

30 June 2011 | Cases | Development, Finance

Case Abstract

Vodafone, a world leader in mobile telecommunications, in partnership with Safaricom, the leading Kenyan mobile operator, launches a service that allows registered users to transfer money from their mobile phones to other mobile phone users. Users simply load their M-PESA account with cash, transfer the money through a secured SMS, and the recipient can convert it to cash via a local air-time reseller.

Vodafone, a world leader in mobile telecommunications, in partnership with Safaricom, the leading Kenyan mobile operator, launches a service that allows registered users to transfer money from their mobile phones to other mobile phone users. Users simply load their M-PESA account with cash, transfer the money through a secured SMS, and the recipient can convert it to cash via a local air-time reseller.
While it is not the world’s first mobile money system, it is certainly the most successful, with 11 million registered users in just three years (50% of Kenya’s adult population), tens of millions of transactions per month (more than Western Union globally), and over 30 billion Kenyan shillings of transfers per month (15% of Kenyan GDP). Vodafone is now rolling out M-PESA in Tanzania, Afghanistan, South Africa and Fiji.
The case explores both the internal and external factors that underpinned the success story. It highlights the innovation track pioneered by a major international corporate player outside the traditional corporate process, leading to the creation of new services for new markets, which – once successful – can be reintegrated into Vodafone’s core business for further replication.

Authors: Loïc Sadoulet, Olivier Furdelle
Institution: INSEAD, France
Competition Year 2011
Place Finalist
Track Social Entrepreneurship
Key Words Social Enterprise, International Operations, Growth Strategy, Hardwood Furniture
Courses Vodafone, M-PESA, Mobile Money, CSR Strategies, Innovation, Kenya
Target Audience MBA, Business Executives
Permission Rights A full version of the case is available on request from and .
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