Safaricom adds 675 new jobs after Ethiopia entry

Tuesday July 11 2023

Safaricom PLC Chief Executive Officer, Peter Ndegwa. FILE PHOTO | POOL


Safaricom added 675 jobs in the one year to March, many of them being in its Ethiopia subsidiary that went into full operation during the period.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)-listed telco says in its annual report for 2023 that its headcount rose to 6,616 in the period from 5,941 as at March 2022.

The Ethiopia unit, which rolled out pilot operations in August 2022 before making a full network launch later in October, saw its staff jump from 305 to 909, with locals comprising 81 percent by March 2023 compared to 50 percent a year earlier.

Read: Ethiopia leads in Kenya's foreign investments

Meanwhile, the Kenyan operation added 71 jobs to reach 5,707, with the firm mainly targeting software developers to run its highly digitised business amid a talent war with global digital companies that have set up in Nairobi.

“…a total workforce complement of 6,616, including Safaricom Ethiopia staff at 909, of which 81 percent is local talent,” said Safaricom in the report.


As a result of the additional headcount on account of the Ethiopia rollout, Safaricom saw its employee costs for the year rise to Ksh28.3 billion ($200.71 million) from Ksh22.6 billion ($160.28 million) a year earlier.

These expenses include salaries, statutory and medical contributions, allowances, club membership payments and costs for employees seconded to the firm by Vodafone affiliate companies.

Salaries accounted for the lion’s share of these expenses at Ksh19.1 billion, which was an increase from Ksh17.1 billion ($121.28 million) in the year to March 2022, followed by the salaries for seconded staff at Ksh4.6 billion - $32.62 million (2022: Ksh1.24 billion - $8.8 million).

The higher employee costs show the heavy expenditure the company undertook to establish its presence in Ethiopia, where it is part of a consortium that also has South Africa’s Vodacom, Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation and British International Investment. 

The IFC has also recently announced a $257.4 million (Ksh36.3 billion) debt and equity injection into the operation.