Bob Collymore, Safaricom CEO

Kenya’s Safaricom is preparing its infrastructure in anticipation of a coming ‘data tsunami’, says CEO Bob Collymore.

Speaking at the Reuters Africa Investment Summit, Collymore said Safaricom was laying a fibre optic cable network to deliver better and faster internet data services. He expected to see a sudden surge in demand over the next year or two.

Safaricom is pinning growth hopes in data, but notes that data comes at a cost. Earlier this week, the telco announced that it would stop selling unlimited data packages, because misuse was slowing down the service and making it commercially unsustainable. Collymore said some users had been downloading up to 35 GB a week. At out-of-bundle prices, this would cost about KES 23,000, but on the unlimited service, customers only paid KES 200.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced the appointment of Bob Collymore to the United Nations Global Compact Board.  This is seen as a recognition of Safaricom’s commitment to environmental, sustainability and anti-corruption issues as well as the work it is undertaking to address the Millenium Development Goals 4 and 5 on maternal health and child mortality.

The United Nations Global Compact is a voluntary UN initiative that encourages businesses globally to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.

The body, which is the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative, encourages corporate support for Millenium Development Goals and corporate adherence to human rights, good labour practices, support for the environment and anti-corruption. The Board is chaired by the UN Secretary General a provides high level strategic advice relating to the UN Global Compact and at a more general level, the evolving United Nations-Business relationship. 

Collymore will serve as an honorary board member for a 3 year term.

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