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Microsoft to Host M-Pesa Platform on Azure Cloud

Vodafone and Microsoft Corp. have announced a strategic 10-year partnership, focusing on bringing generative AI, digital services, and cloud capabilities to over 300 million businesses and consumers. This collaboration will significantly impact the financial technology landscape in Africa, particularly through the expansion of M-Pesa, a pioneering mobile money service.

Vodafone and Microsoft’s partnership will leverage the tech giant’s generative AI to transform customer experiences and scale Vodafone’s newly standalone IoT business. With an investment of $1.5 billion over the next decade, Vodafone plans to enhance its cloud and AI services in conjunction with Microsoft, who will also utilize Vodafone’s connectivity services.

A key focus of this partnership is the integration of M-Pesa, Africa’s largest financial technology platform, onto Microsoft Azure. This move aims to improve financial inclusion across the continent and introduces new cloud-native applications. M-Pesa, which began as a pilot project in 2005 and launched in Kenya in 2007, has since expanded to several countries, revolutionizing mobile money and financial services.

The collaboration between Vodafone and Microsoft encompasses five primary areas:

  1. Generative AI: Microsoft Azure OpenAI will be used to enhance customer satisfaction through proactive and personalized experiences across Vodafone’s customer touchpoints, including its digital assistant TOBi.
  2. Scaling IoT: Microsoft’s investment in Vodafone‚Äôs IoT connectivity platform, connecting 175 million devices globally, marks a significant step in expanding IoT services.
  3. Africa Digital Acceleration: Microsoft will support the scaling of M-Pesa on Azure, coupled with a program aimed at improving digital literacy and services for SMEs in Africa.
  4. Enterprise Growth: Vodafone will distribute Microsoft services like Azure and Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile, focusing on aiding SMEs across Europe.
  5. Cloud Transformation: Vodafone’s cloud transformation, facilitated by Microsoft Azure, aims to modernize data centers, enhancing responsiveness and operational efficiency.

Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group CEO, emphasized the partnership’s role in propelling digital transformation in Europe and Africa, particularly for SMEs. She highlighted the partnership’s potential to elevate customer experiences and drive digital innovation. Similarly, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, underlined the transformative impact of AI and cloud technology, celebrating the union of Microsoft’s and Vodafone’s efforts to bring advanced digital services to millions in Africa and Europe.

This strategic partnership marks a significant milestone in Vodafone’s journey towards digitization and customer-centric services. By hosting M-Pesa on Azure, the partnership not only promises enhanced financial services in Africa but also sets a precedent for global technological collaborations aimed at fostering digital inclusion and innovation. The move is expected to catalyze a new wave of financial technology solutions, making digital financial services more accessible and efficient across the continent.

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