Sitoyo Lopokoiyit is a mobile-financial services expert who currently serves as the Managing Director of M-PESA Africa and acting Chief Financial Services Officer at Safaricom.
Sitoyo boasts over 15 years of senior managerial experience across different fields and has worked extensively in the East Africa Region as well as in Mauritius and Reunion.
In his current role, he is responsible for managing and growing M-PESA in 7 markets in Africa with over 50M active customers, over 3.7 SME’s and MSME’s and an annual revenue of over $ 1.3 billion (with the service revenue growing at double digits).
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As a passionate, energetic and easy-going leader, Sitoyo has delivered major innovations that have encouraged financial inclusion and revolutionized the global mobile money space. Examples of his work include Fuliza, the world’s first contextual overdraft facility, M-Shwari, a savings and loan proposition, M-PESA Global Payments, along with partnerships with PayPal and Ali Express.
Here is his story as narrated by WoK.
Background & Education
According to his LinkedIn page, Sitoyo attended Alliance Boys High School between 1991 and 1994. He then proceeded to the University of Nairobi (UoN) from where he graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) in Marketing degree.
he then proceeded to pursue a MSc in Information Technology Management and Organizational Change at Lancaster University in the UK and graduated in 2002.
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During a past interview with Mcinsey, the Safaricom CO revealed that he has been an entrepreneur all his life and learnt to invest from a young age. He ventured into a number of businesses while in college and also went on to found another company that he sold for profit.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. When I finished high school, I started a garbage-collecting company that became the largest in Kenya, which I later sold. At university, I was good at playing pool and realized it’s better to be the owner of the pool table, so I bought pool tables and put them in the university when I was there, to earn a bit of money,” he recalled.
“After university I was working for a supermarket chain, and I was taken to South Africa, where I realized that everything that’s in a supermarket is technology—the shelf space, the height, the depth, the reorder levels—and I knew nothing about tech. So I resigned and went to Lancaster University to do an MSc in IT and learn how business and IT coexist,” he added.
Sitoyo worked for Chevron as Business Advisor Consumer & Industrial, Merchandise Manager for East Africa from August 2004 to August 2009 before moving on to Total Kenya where he served as the Divesification Manager until June 2011.
From July 2011 to September 2015, the UoN alumni worked as the M-Commerce Director at Vodacom Tanzania.
He led the turnaround strategy for the adoption and execution of M-PESA and oversaw the delivery of several other transformative products and services such as the delivery of Mobile Money G2 platform, M-PESA app, interoperable transactions for both peer-to-peer transfers and Merchant Payments, Business to Business payments, M-PESA CVM, and Merchant Payments. His work accelerated growth of M-PESA in Tanzania.
“One of the most profound things that happened to me was going to Tanzania. The late Bob Collymore [then CEO of Safaricom] offered me five roles and told me, “The one you shouldn’t take is Tanzania. It’s minus 8 percent, there’s a new CEO who started two years ago who is joining,” and so on. I told him, “That’s the reason why I want to go there: because you said that it’s the most difficult.” Tanzania really challenged me. It was a difficult market—many players, where the market leader, Vodacom, had 33 percent market share. But we turned the business around. For me, those were three years of really understanding who I am and really challenging myself,” he told McInsey.
Sitoyo was named the
- Chairman of the Board: M-PESA Limited (Tanzania)
- CEO of Safaricom Money Transfer Services Limited
- Chairman of the governing council of KCA university
- Board Member: Central Deposit & Settlement Corporation (CDSC)
- Chairman of the Board- Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH- second largest hospital in Kenya)
- Board member: Mezzanine (SA)
Awards & Recognitions
Sitoyo was awarded the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (M.B.S.) by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta in July 2022 for his contributions towards wildlife protection.
He was also feted as an Honorary Warder by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), since 2021.
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