Vodacom has hired a top expert in electronic payments and financial services to head its mobile commerce division. The telecommunications operator has appointed Herman Singh, formerly head of Standard Bank’s innovation arm, Beyond Payments, as its managing executive for mobile commerce.
Singh was head of Beyond Payments for five years. Prior to that, he was director of architecture and technology engineering at Standard Bank.
At the same time, Vodacom has appointed Chris Lazarus, formerly the managing executive of products and services at Vodacom Business, to oversee the expansion of the distribution of the M-Pesa mobile payments platform in South Africa. Although M-Pesa has proved enormously successful in Kenya, where it originated, and in Tanzania, it has failed to gain traction in the South African market.
Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub tells TechCentral that the hires come as the operator is preparing to relaunch its financial services platform in a way, he says, that will allow it to be “much more effective”.
“We are building a new platform that has a lot of bells and whistles and that gives us the opportunity to fully capture the opportunities presented by financial services.”
With the service having been launched in Lesotho and Mozambique recently, M-Pesa is now available in all of the markets in which Vodacom operates.
Joosub regards financial services, and M-Pesa in particular, as a strong growth opportunity for the mobile group. “It’s going to become very important,” he says.
Vodacom last year also began a foray into the insurance business after securing a licence to sell short- and long-term insurance products from the Financial Services Board.
The operator said in May 2012 that it had appointed Frank.net, a local direct life investment company owned and capitalised by Liberty Holdings, to provide administrative and claims support for its long-term insurance offerings.
It said, too, that it would provide a full suite of insurance products relevant to South African consumers. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media