Safaricom granted license to operate M-PESA in Ethiopia

Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) Telecommunications Ethiopia has officially been granted the license to operate mobile money services in Ethiopia, seven months after the commercial launch of GSM services.

The M-PESA license will open the country to the world’s largest mobile payment system and Africa’s largest Fintech, and the world’s first mobile money transfer system.

Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom PLC CEO said they are excited that this is a great milestone following their entry into Ethiopia. “This positions us to provide essential financial services to the Ethiopian population. We are looking forward to launch and roll out the service over the next few months.”

A statement from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) statement that the move is meant to foster financial innovation and inclusion in the Ethiopian market.

“The menu of digital finance offerings including mobile banking, mobile wallets, internet banking and card banking has expanded rapidly in recent years, showing the strong underlying public demand for the use of such services. We welcome this shift to the use of digital financial services so as to bring greater efficiency, safety and transparency to the country’s rapidly growing financial system,” the statement read.

It further stated that they welcome the introduction of diverse forms of digital financial services that will help citizens transact, borrow, save and invest even as Ethiopia’s financial system is being modernized.

In the period under review, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia added close to 3 million customers and built a distributor network of over 114 outlets, delivered an award-winning premium quality network in 22 cities and regions; with close to 1300 network sites and over 900 staff, 81 percent of whom are Ethiopians.

He added “Since the commercial launch in October, the brand is visible, deeply rooted in the Ethiopia and quickly becoming in every sense fabric of the society. The potential for Ethiopia is immense and we look forward to the future with optimism and excitement.”

Mr. Ndegwa spoke during the announcement of the Full Year 2022/2023 results, which saw net income increase by 3.0 percent to Ksh74.5 billion for Safaricom Kenya.

M-PESA empowers over 30 million customers to transact, save or borrow money through their mobile phone. M-PESA catalysed financial inclusion in Kenya to 84 percent from a low of 26.7 percent in 2006 according to the 2021 FinAccess Survey and generated over Ksh117.2 billion ($886 million) in revenue in FY23.


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