[ACCI-CAVIE] Kenyan mobile network operator Safaricom, is currently on the verge of launching its mobile money services in Ethiopia, four months after its license was approved by the Ethiopian government.
According to Safaricom’s CEO Aanwar Soussa, he disclosed that the startup is currently finalizing plans to launch operations by April 2023.
In his words, “We are finalizing our commercial and technical readiness, and we expect to launch operations within the upcoming financial year.
“Our growth trajectory is even more exciting for us as we look forward to offering financial services through M-PESA. With a population of approximately 120 million people and financial inclusion at about 35%, 57% mobile penetration, and annual inward remittance of about $4.2 billion, Ethiopia offers a great opportunity to grow the business to the Kenya level in 10 years.”
Last October 2022, Kenyan mobile money operator Safaricom was granted approval by the Ethiopian government to launch M-pesa in the country.
During the national launch of Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia (STE) in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, the country’s Finance Minister, Mr. Ahmed Shide, disclosed that the mobile money platform had received approval to roll out its services across the country.
He further noted that Safaricom would be allowed to acquire permits of operation and license for M-Pesa services from the central bank following the approval. The license permits Safaricom to operate in the country for 15 years, it will also operate under its original name in offering mobile money services.
Launched on the 6th of March 2007 by Vodafone’s Kenyan associate, Safaricom, M-PESA is Africa’s leading mobile money service with more than 604,000 active agents operating across Egypt, Tanzania, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Kenya, Lesotho, and Mozambique.
A decade after its launch, M-Pesa has expanded to 10 countries, boasts 29.5 million active users and processes up to 614 million transactions per month.
M-PESA is a Safaricom product that allows users to transfer money using a mobile phone. Kenya is the first country in the world to use this service, which is offered in partnership between Safaricom and Vodafone. M-PESA is available to the public, even if they do not have a bank account or card.
The mobile money services provide more than 51 million customers across seven countries in Africa with a safe, secure and affordable way to send and receive money, top-up airtime, make bill payments, receive salaries, get short-term loans and much more.
M-Pesa is also lauded for its social value, offering opportunities for SMEs, and playing a significant role in helping the underbanked. The platform has directly transformed households as it evolved from a basic SIM card-based money transfer application into a fully-fledged financial service, offering loans and savings in conjunction with local banks, plus merchant payments services.
BY Ojukwu Emmanuel and LB