, NEW YORK, Aug 4 – Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore has joined the board of Acumen, a non-profit social venture fund that invests in companies, leaders and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty.
The appointment comes just three months after Collymore’s re-appointment to the board of the United Nations Global Compact in recognition of his contribution towards championing the work of the Global Compact.
Collymore, who has been at the helm of the Kenyan integrated telecommunications company since 2010, previously sat on the Advisory Council of the non-profit social venture fund founded by Jacqueline Novogratz. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the telecommunications sector working in Africa as well as Asia and Europe.
“Bob is an incredibly respected leader but, more importantly, he is passionate about catalyzing business to transform and empower communities,” Novogratz said.
“Throughout his career, he has shown the power of the private sector and private-public partnerships to improve the lives of the poor. His voice and expertise will be of great value in helping Acumen achieve its mission of tackling poverty.”
He has also served on the board of United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for women and children. In Kenya, he sits on The Vision 2030 Delivery Board and the United States International University advisory board. In 2012 he was awarded the honour of Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) by the President of Kenya for his services to the country. He is also the chairman of the TEAMS (The East African Marine System) Board and a Trustee of the M-PESA Foundation.
“Increasingly, the business community has the unique opportunity to drive transformative change through all levels of society, particularly through public-private partnerships,” Collymore said. “I am excited to be part of the Acumen board and hope to be able to do my part to create sustainable and inclusive business models across the continent.”
Safaricom is a leading player in Africa’s mobile market and pioneered the world’s most developed mobile payment platform, M-PESA. With the creation of M-PESA, Safaricom revolutionized banking in East Africa by enabling users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services using only a cell phone.
By providing access to banking and other formal financial services, Safaricom’s innovative “pay as you go” platform has unlocked opportunities for millions of poor Africans to afford essential goods and services that can transform their lives. M-PESA’s creators also founded M-KOPA, an energy company in which Acumen invested in 2011 that uses the payment platform to provide solar power to the poor.
Acumen started as an idea to combine the best markets with the best of aid and charity and now has a proven model that is giving the poor access to everything from ambulances to electricity.