Ethiopia has granted Safaricom a license to launch M-Pesa
services in the country. This is the first mobile money license issued to a foreign
investor in Ethiopia.
The National Bank of Ethiopia has issued a mobile money
services license to Safaricom M-Pesa Mobile Financial Service Plc, a subsidiary
of Safaricom Telecommunication Ethiopia Plc. The statement issued in part read,
“The issuance of the license reflects NBE’s on-going objective of fostering financial
innovation and inclusion in the Ethiopian market.”
It continued to explain that, “With NBE support, 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.”
M-Pesa presence in Ethiopia will boost the country’s efforts
to help citizens transact, save, borrow, and invest as the demand and
popularity of digital payment systems rises in Africa. NBE has welcomed the
shift to the use of digital financial services to bring greater efficiency,
safety, and transparency to Ethiopia’s rapidly growing financial system.
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa has said the telecommunication company
intends to roll out M-Pesa services in Ethiopia before the end of 2023. This
comes as Safaricom records a 22.2 percent drop in net profits to Ksh 52.5
billion. This is the third consecutive decline in the company’s profits.
Safaricom launched operations in Ethiopia last year on
October 6 and according to Business Daily had 2.8 million users by mid-March this
year. The mobile money license targets to enhance its operations in the East