Safaricom loses out in civil unrest

11 Jan 2008

Kenyan cellco Safaricom suffered a KES400 million (USD6.2 million) loss in revenue as a result of the recent violence which followed the general election results, reports CEO Michael Joseph said the losses were due to airtime distribution problems as a result of unrest. The company has since resorted to distributing airtime in the affected areas by helicopters. It has also evacuated its staff stranded across the country. ‘These efforts were entirely meant to stabilise the country and get people communicating to each other and reach for help. We, however, cannot quantify the cost implications of these,’ said Mr Joseph. Kenya’s Red Cross Society had appealed for KES957 million to provide emergency relief services to the more than half a million people affected by violence. Safaricom also donated KES100,000 worth of airtime to the society for its communication needs.

The post-election skirmishes have also led to government plans to sell 25% of the operator in an IPO being delayed again, although Finance Minister Amos Kimunya has moved to re-assure would-be investors that the sell-off will still take place in the first quarter of this year.

Kenya, Safaricom