Safaricom picks Ronald Webb to head MPesa services, replacing Betty Mwangi-Thuo

Long-serving Paynet Group CTO Ronald Webb has been appointed by Safaricom as the Director of Financial Services, a position which effectively puts him in charge of the telco’s MPesa mobile money platform, replacing Betty Mwangi-Thuo who left the company in March this year.

Webb joined Safaricom in June this year (but formerly assumed his new role in August) after serving at Equity Bank for one year as the Group’s Director of Payments.

(TOP: Ronald Webb – with microphone – makes a presentation during Paynet’s signing up on Internet Solutions Kenya’s InfoConnect shared services platform in 2011. On the left is Internet Solutions Kenya MD Loren Bosch while Andy Boen from South Africa’s First National Bank is on the right).

Webb’s short stint at Equity Bank came a time when the bank was developing and launching its Equitel mobile money platform, joining a field that was already being controlled by Safaricom’s MPesa with Airtel Money and Orange Money featuring in discussions more as other existing platforms but not serious contenders for market leadership.

A brief citation on Webb on the ITU portal states that the former “Group Director of Payments for Equity Bank is a thirty-year veteran of the payments industry in Africa” who “was co-founder and chief architect of the Paynet and PesaPoint payments businesses in Zimbabwe and Kenya,” adding that he’s “able to transition the boundary between technology and business,…continues to wrestle with the challenges of Financial Inclusion helping Equity Bank remain at the forefront of innovative, relevant and affordable products and services as it executes its strategy to grow to 100 million customers in 15 countries.”

Webb joined Paynet / Pesapoint Kenya in late 1997 till May 2015, serving the company for almost 18 years.

According to latest stats from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), the number of mobile money transfer subscribers in Kenya were 24.8 million subscriptions whereas the number of mobile money transfer active agents stood at 147,761. During the period between January 1 to March 31, 2016, the volume of transactions (deposits and withdrawals) on the various platforms was registered at 348.8 million, with Kshs. 840.3 billion being transferred among users during the period. Mobile commerce recorded 190.3 million transactions that saw Ksh. 312 billion used to pay for goods and services. The person-to-person transfers stood at 396.7 billion as at the end of the quarter under review.

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