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Kenyan firm wins African award

LONDON, Jun 22 – Kenya’s communications giant Safaricom has won a coveted continental award.

Safaricom was named Africa’s Telecoms Company of the Year at the African Business Awards 2010 held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday, topping a keenly-contested final short list that featured other telecoms operators on the continent like Gateway Communications and Globacom Mobile, both of Nigeria, Mobinil of Egypt and Ghana’s Tigo.

“The award goes to the best business operating in the telecoms sector. The winner will have shown solid financial results, developed innovative products and services for consumers and generated significant returns on investment for stakeholders. This award will not merely reward market penetration but also innovation and transformation at the grassroots level, namely it will measure the extent to which it has improved citizens’ lives,” the citation says.

Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph said of the award: “This is yet another welcome recognition for our business and strategic model. I congratulate all Safaricom employees, without whose overall contribution, this achievement would not have been possible. It is all the more befitting as Safaricom was chosen ahead of several peers from all over Africa.”

He said the award is a celebration of Safaricom’s consistently solid financial results, leadership in innovation that positively impacts on citizen’s lives and return on investment for shareholders.

Based on its latest annual results, the firm made a pre-tax return of Sh21 billion, on the back of which it has proposed the doubling of its dividend payout from Sh4 billion to Sh8 billion. The firm’s globally-acknowledged innovations like M-PESA, Sambaza and Okoa Jahazi also continue to positively impact the lives of its over 15 million subscribers.

The winners for the African Business Awards are chosen from consultations with multilateral agencies, the editorial board of African Business magazine and experts from the Commonwealth Business Council.

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