A Safaricom retail shop. Safaricom has joined the push to scale up private sector investment for sustainable development. www.businesstoday.co.ke
A Safaricom retail shop. Safaricom has joined the push to scale up private sector investment for sustainable development.

Safaricom returned to Fortune’s global Change the World ranking after a two year absence but slotted in 19th position despite topping the list in 2015. The giant telco, alongside UK partners Vodafone, was recognised by the American magazine’s ranking of top 50 companies in the world for the second time in the ranking’s four year history.

[The full list of companies in the Fortune 2018 Change the World appears at the end of the article].

Money transfer innovation M-Pesa propelled Safaricom and Vodafone to the list, with Fortune noting the mobile money sevice now claims more than 30 million customers in 10 countries, mostly in remote areas far from banks.

Fortune wrote on their website,“More than 8 million of those users are in India, where state governments are employing M-Pesa to pay pensions to rural retirees, eliminating the delays and crime risks that come with shipping cash.”


This is the third time M-Pesa is making it onto the list, having propelled Safaricom and Vodafone to top spot in the first ever Fortune Change the World list in 2015. (Fortune is known for its other company ranking, the Fortune 500 list).

As reported by CBS News at the time, Safaricom/Vodafone led ahead of American tech company Google and Japanese car manufacturer Toyota.

In the inaugural list, two other Kenyan companies also made the Top 50. Solar power electricity provider M-Kopa ranked at 27th while Equity Bank slotted in at 32nd.

The three Kenyan companies all dropped out in 2016, but last year M-Pesa made a comeback. Although Safaricom was not listed in 2017, Vodafone ranked 16th on the basis of M-Pesa.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore was elated at the giant telco’s return to the list of companies making an impact in the world. ““It is indeed a great achievement for us to be recognized alongside global firms that are making a remarkable difference in the society.”


A press statement from the telco firm said Safaricom had been recognized as one of the companies that is tackling public health, environmental, economic and other society challenges as part of its every day operations.

The M-Pesa platform is impacting millions of people’s lives, Safaricom added. “We believe that it is our role to bring products and services that will be innovative enough to address the day to day economic and social issues in our society,” Collymore said.

With an estimated value of Ksh1.13 trillion, Safaricom ranks ahead of Apple (24th) which recently achieved a Ksh100 trillion valuation.

Other major companies that rank behind Safaricom are Toyota (31st), Microsoft (39th) and Adidas (47th).

Inidan telco Reliance Jio is ranked first, while Alphabet (Google) is at 12th with last year’s top company JP Morgan Chase sliding to 18th, one spot ahead of Safaricom.

The Fortune Change the World list recognizes companies that have had a positive social impact through activities that are part of their core business strategy.

Fortune prioritizes companies with annual revenues of Ksh100 billion or more, then evaluates and rank the companies based on Measurable Social Impact, Business Results, Degree of Innovation, and Corporate Integration.

The Full List

1. Reliance Jio (India) – Telecommunications

2. Merck (US) – Pharmaceuticals

3. Bank of America (US) – Commercial Banks

4. Inditex Specialty (Spain) – Retailers

5. Alibaba Group (China) – Internet Services & Retailing

6. Kroger (US) – Food & Drug Stores

7. Xylem (US) – Industrial Machinery

8. ABB (Switzerland) – Industrial Machinery

9. Weight Watchers International (US) – Business Services

10. Hughes Network Systems (US) – Network & Other Communications

11. Danone (France) – Food Consumer Products

12. Alphabet (US) – Internet Services & Retailing

13. Wesfarmers (Australia) – Food & Drug Stores

14. Braskem (Brazil) – Chemicals

15. Intel (US) – Semiconductors

16. Walmart (US) – General Merchandisers

17. VMware (US) – Computer Software

18. JP Morgan Chase (US) – Commercial Banks

19. Safaricom/Vodafone (Kenya/UK) – Telecommunications

20. Johnson & Johnson (US) – Pharmaceuticals

21. NextEra Energy (US) – Utilities

22. Humana (US) – Health Care: Insurance & Managed Care

23. Mahindra & Mahindra (India) – Motor Vehicles & Parts

24. Apple (US) – Computers, Office Equipment

25. Stryker (US) – Medical Products & Equipment

26. DSM (Netherlands) – Chemicals

27. Salesforce (US) – Computer Software

28. Enel (Italy) – Utilities

29. Henry Schein (US) – Wholesalers: Health Care

30. Johnson Controls International (Ireland) – Industrial Machinery

31. Toyota Motor (Japan) – Motor Vehicles & Parts

32. TE Connectivity (US) – Electronics

33. Bidvest Group (South Africa) – Conglomerate

34. Prudential Financial (US) – Insurance: Life & Health

35. 99 Cents Only Stores (US) – Specialty Retailers

36. Grab (Singapore) – Computer Software

37. Levi Strauss (US) – Apparel

38. Natura Cosmeticos (Brazil) – Household & Personal Products

39. Microsoft (US) – Computer Software

40. Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Indonesia) – Commercial Banks

41. Allstate (US) – Insurance: Property & Casualty

42. Barclays (UK) – Commercial Banks

43. Cisco Systems (US) – Network & Other Communications

44. Tyson Foods (US) – Food Production

45. JD.com (China) – Internet Services & Retailing

46. Hilton (US) – Hotels, Casinos, Resorts

47. Adidas (Germany) – Apparel

48. PayPal (US) – Financial Data Services

49. Siemens (Germany) – Industrial Machinery

50. McDonald’s (US) – Food Services

51. Telenor Group (Norway) – Telecommunications

52. Deloitte (UK) – Business Services

53. Didi Chuxing (China) – Computer Software

54. Abbott Laboratories (US) – Medical Products & Equipment

55. Gap (US) – Specialty Retailers

56. Banco Santander (Spain) – Commercial Banks

57. PepsiCo (US) – Food Consumer Products



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