Last Saturday at Uhuru gardens, Safaricom ushered in a new philosophy and brand repositioning through the tagline ‘Twaweza’. Safaricom has always worked closely with people and with the launch of Twaweza, the company shows more commitment to coming down to the people and working more and more with the strengths of togetherness. Twaweza simply means that when communities come together, great thing happen. Already, we have seen examples of this in Safaricom sponsored projects like Ghetto Classics where all the proceeds of Safaricom Jazz go, community races like Henry Wanyoike’s hope for the future, and the Safaricom Deaf athletics championship.

Kenya has always been a vibrant economy with hard working hustlers everywhere you go. With the right partners, Kenyans will obviously move further and further and Safaricom intends to grow with them under #Twaweza. As such, the company switches philosophy from a telecommunications company to a digital lifestyle enabler.

Safaricom is such a Kenyan story and other than numerous complaints here and there from its customers, we still certainly identify with the growth and success of the company. It was officially born in 2000, with a launch at Carnivore Grounds in October of that year. Over the years, what started as a small department in Telkom has grown to be the biggest telecommunications player in the region. Down memory lane, there was a time when the network could only be accessed from some parts of Nairobi and even then, it was almost always jammed and inaccessible on Fridays when too many people called at the same time. I think this is what earned us the ‘peculiar calling habits’ tag :-D. With continuous investment into better network, things have improved greatly all over the country over time.

Some of us will remember a time when a new SIM card cost 2,500 bob and the lowest denomination scratch card was Ksh.500. With time the cost of a line dropped to just 99 bob and the Ksh100 scratch card was introduced. In the year 2002, subscriber numbers hit 700,000, likely because of affordable SIM cards, lower denomination scratch cards and introduction of per second billing in year 2000.

Over the years, Safaricom introduced other services that made it more and more convenient in people’s every day lives. The introduction of mobile internet in 2004 for example, sambaza and please call me in 2005, bamba 5 and bamba 10 in 2009, Mshwari in partnership with CBA bank in 2012 and the first ever 4G network in the country in 2014 to name a few.

On 7th March 2007, Safaricom launched Mpesa. What we probably thought would be a small product for a few people took off like wildfire, offering unbelievable ease and convenience in money exchange and putting Kenya on the map. The ripple effects of Mpesa to date have been greater empowerment of individuals, businesses and communities. Thousands of employment opportunities have come out of Mpesa with agents opening outlets all over the country. We’re now at around 140,000 Mpesa agents countrywide.

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