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Kenya’s Safaricom Loses Head of Alpha Innovation Lab : Kenya

Kamal Bhattacharya, the head of Safaricom’s innovation lab has left Kenya’s biggest telecoms company less than a year and a half after he joined.

The former long-serving IBM executive left last month after leading Safaricom’s Alpha innovation unit since April 2017. Bhattacharya told Reuters he had left to focus on a technology start-up which involves the education sector.

“Bhattacharya elected to leave the company to pursue other interests effective 7th September”, said an e-mail sent to Safaricom staff and seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The message did not give any details about plans for the innovation lab.

Bhattacharya presided over the piloting of a social messaging app that will link to its widely used mobile money platform Mpesa in an attempt to move the company into the application business.

Alpha, which was set up in 2017, has not announced any other pilot products apart from the app, which is called Bonga, meaning ‘chat’ in Kiswahili.

Safaricom is 35 percent owned by South African group Vodacom and 5 percent by Vodacom’s major shareholder, Britain’s Vodafone. – Kenyan Digest


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