Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa (second right), with, Nairobi Securities Exchange CEO, Geoffrey Odundo (left), NSE Chairman, Kiprono Kittony and Central Depository & Settlement Corporation (CDSC) Head of Strategy, Research, Legal and Compliance, Hilda Njeri after signing a partnership between Safaricom and NSE on Bonga points investment in the stock market.

Safaricom has partnered with the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) to allow its customers buy stocks with loyalty token popularly known as Bonga Points.

Under the deal, customers will trade in billions of points in exchange for shares at the NSE which are currently trading at record lows.

The deal with the richest counter at the NSE will help Nairobi bourse unlock stock trading which has slumped on Covid-19 woes as Kenyans lack disposable cash for buying company shares.

Safaricom customers will redeem their points through licensed trading participants, with ten already activated.

These include NCBA Capital, Faida Investment Bank, AIB-AXYS, ABC Capital, Old Mutual Securities, Kingdom Securities, Suntra Investments, Francis Drummond & Company, Dyer & Blair Investments and Sterling Capital LTD.

“The launch of the Lipa Shares na Bonga Points initiative resonates with our resolve to connect capital with opportunities and further provides an avenue for retail investors to participate on the NSE,” NSE Chief Executive Geofrey Odundo said.

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The new initiative comes on the back of a partnership between Safaricom and NSE to offer a virtual network support to securely connect users as the stocks market upgrades its trading platform.

“Our aim is to continue transforming the lives of our customers by delivering a wide range of products and services that align with their needs. Through this partnership with NSE, we seek to give our customers more value and utility for their Bonga Points while creating more avenues for driving economic empowerment,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.

The Safaricom internet platform has saved stock traders a third of their costs and offer secure network for stock brokers.

The Safaricom-NSE partnership will also push the evolution of loyalty points to buy a wide range of products including retail goods, airtime, internet data bundles and purchase mobile devices instead of using cash.

Last year the telco launched Bonga for Good an initiative on April 3 as a package where users could redeem bonga points at the telcos merchants at one Bonga Point for Sh30 cents leading to a redemption of two billion Bonga Points.

Cash strained Kenyans redeemed Kes 400 million from Safaricom’s customer loyalty awards scheme mainly for basic food items during the height of the pandemic.

Under the initiative, Kenyans redeemed an average of 20 million points a day at the peak of Covid-19 crisis. The campaign ended on 4 June, last year.

Most of the redemption took place at the supermarket tills—a sign that many households who ran low of cash due to lost or impaired earnings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic turned to other purchase options for survival.

“Safaricom has committed Kes400 million through its “Bonga for Good” initiative to enable customers to give and share 2 billion Bonga points. Over 1 Billion of Bonga Points used to help families get food and basic necessities,” Safaricom said.

The customer loyalty scheme has been in existence since 2007 has seen Safaricom accumulate billions in Bonga Points but most of it, 84 per cent, is held by high value customers with the remaining portion shared among 67 per cent of their customer base.

The Nairobi bourse replaced the Multi-Protocol Label Switching network that has been used since 2011 with the Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) supported by Safaricom.

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