Vodafone 2024 Annual Report

Purpose (continued) 36 Vodafone Group Plc Annual Report 2024

Strategic report



Other information

Supporting communities Building platforms for financial inclusion Goal: To connect 75 million people and their families to mobile money services by 31 March 2026. Globally, 1.7 billion adults do not have a bank account, but among them, an estimated 1.1 billion have a mobile phone. 2 Digital services are key to helping people access safe, secure financial services. Without the ability to transfer money, people are limited in their ability to save, access loans, start a business and even be paid. Together with Safaricom, we developed the first mobile money platform, M-Pesa, which provides financial services to millions of people who have a mobile phone but have limited access to a bank account. Mobile money is also widely used to manage business transactions, pay salaries, pensions, agricultural subsidies and government grants, and reduces the risks of robbery and corruption in cash-based societies. In Egypt, Vodafone Cash is a comprehensive e-wallet and financial services platform, catering to the needs of the unbanked, two thirds of the Egyptian population. In addition, some markets benefit from insurance offerings. Through VodaPay, customers in South Africa can access payment products and services, including lending and insurance. In Ethiopia, Safaricom was awarded a licence to provide mobile money services in May 2023, launching M-Pesa in the country three months later. Over 33 billion transactions amounting to more than €351 million were made in the year using M-Pesa, the equivalent of around 4 million per hour on average through a network of more than 617,000 agents. M-Pesa is also accepted by over one million merchants. As of the end of March 2024, 66.2 million customers were using Vodafone’s financial inclusion services. Mobile money customers

In Africa, we continued to expand device-financing options. In South Africa, the Easy2Own payment plan now allows customers to purchase a smartphone with an upfront deposit and a payment plan with monthly, weekly or daily instalments. Airtime or data is allocated based on the instalment payment being made. Over 3,700 customers have signed up to Easy2Own. Lipa Mdogo Mdogo (Pay Little by Little) has been running in Kenya since 2020. The partnership between Safaricom, Google and Meta offers a flexible payment plan from as little as KSh20 a day. This initiative is also supporting the digitalisation of the farming sector, where devices are bundled with DigiFarm, a free Safaricom service that offers farm inputs at discounted prices, input loans and learning content. Since the launch in 2020, 1.2 million 4G devices have been connected through Lipa Mdogo Mdogo. Safaricom Kenya, in a joint venture with TeleOne and Jamii Telkom, has also established the country’s first smartphone assembly plant to kick-start production of locally-assembled smartphones. The factory has the capacity to produce up to three million smartphones annually, which are expected to be up to 30% cheaper than imported smart phones. It is also projected that it will generate between 300 and 500 direct jobs, foster local talent development and contribute to the country’s economic growth. Addressing the digital gender gap The majority of those still unconnected are women. The digital gender gap continues to grow in many less developed countries, creating a specific need to support digital gender equality. In 2023, 70% of men were using the internet globally, compared with 65% of women. In LDCs just 30% of women used the internet in 2023 compared to 93% in high-income countries. Research indicates that women who have access to mobile internet via a smartphone have 9% higher levels of wellbeing than women who have access via a basic or feature phone. However, across low and middle-income countries, women are 17% less likely than men to own a smartphone and 19% less likely to use mobile internet. 1 Vodafone’s aim is to realise digital gender equity, giving everyone the opportunity to benefit from safe, enriching, productive and affordable online experiences. Through fair and equitable digital transformation, we can support the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, addressing some of humanity’s greatest challenges. Therefore, in order to progress towards digital gender equity, this year we began evolving our Connected Women strategy to focus on measuring gender equity across our markets in order to monitor progress. Focusing on creating relevant services for women is also a key strategy to bring more women online. Through connectivity, we seek to support positive outcomes for women in education, skills and jobs, health and wellbeing, safety and economic empowerment. For example, in many African markets, gaining access to quality health information and antenatal care can be very difficult. Information delivered by mobile can help to bridge the gaps in crucial, basic information. Responding to this, our Mum & Baby service continues to grow, giving customers free access to maternal, neonatal and child health information in our African operations. The service helps parents and caregivers to take positive actions to improve their children’s health. In the DRC, the initiative Je Suis Cap, (‘I am Capable’), provided 950 women living with disabilities, free financial education provided jointly by M-Pesa and Visa. Each woman received a starter kit to establish their own business as an M-Pesa agent.

Financial inclusion customers (million)

% of service revenue

% penetration of base

South Africa Tanzania Mozambique Egypt

2.6 8.2



10.2 36% 63%


22% 68% 45% 86%

5.8 27% 5.5 21% 0.9 16%

Democratic Republic of the Congo Vodafone Group Safaricom (Kenya and Ethiopia) Lesotho




33.0 42% 88% Supporting small businesses to thrive in a digital world MSMEs are the lifeblood of many communities, providing opportunities for socio-economic participation, as well as social mobility for women, young people and ethnic minorities. Through Vodafone Business, we provide products and services that are specifically tailored for MSME and, small-office home-office, (‘SOHO’) businesses, helping guide them through technology choices and improving their digital readiness. These segments also represent a significant commercial opportunity for Vodafone. We estimate that the total addressable market for MSME and SOHO customers in our markets 3 is €45 billion, and we currently have over five million MSME and SOHO customers. To better support MSMEs across Europe and Africa, Vodafone Business offers V-Hub, its digital advice service. This free service provides access to online information and connects MSMEs with experts who provide one-to-one advice and support on digitally transforming businesses in an ever-changing digital world.

Notes: 1. The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report, GSMA, 2023. 2. World Economic Forum, 2022. 3. Includes the Netherlands, where we have our Joint Venture, VodafoneZiggo.

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