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Ethiopia grants Safaricom licence

Ethiopia grants Safaricom licence

Safaricom of Kenya has been given permission by Ethiopia to introduce M-Pesa in the populous but mostly unbanked country.

The telco anticipates launching mobile money services before the end of the year, which will raise awareness of the service since its 2007 inception in Kenya.

 

As of this morning, Safaricom Ethiopia has received official authorization to use mobile money. During an investor briefing on Thursday morning, chief executive officer Peter Ndegwa stated, “We look forward to the launch of M-Pesa in the coming weeks.

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has received $150 million (Sh18.9 billion) in license fees from the Safaricom-led consortium in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia grants Safaricom licence

The first foreign-owned company to receive the license is Safaricom M-Pesa Mobile Financial Service, a new subsidiary that was granted the mobile money service authorization by the banking sector regulator on Thursday.

 

The NBE issued a statement on Thursday saying, “We applaud this change to the use of digital financial services to bring greater efficiency, safety, and transparency to the country’s rapidly expanding financial sector.

Safaricom Ethiopia grew its customer numbers to three million users seven months after its entry into the country.

 

Mr Ndegwa said voice, messaging and data services had been rolled out in 22 cities and regions with 1,272 network sites.

 

It has so far employed 909 staff.

In Ethiopia, the continent’s second-most populous nation with an estimated 118 million inhabitants, state-owned Ethio Telecom had up until that point enjoyed a monopoly.

 

While the remaining shares of Safaricom are publicly traded, the Kenyan government owns 35 percent of the company and Vodacom of South Africa owns 40 percent.

 

Ethiopia published a contest in 2021 to grant two licenses to private telecommunication operators as part of ambitions to modernize the communications industry.

Ethiopia also launched the process for a sale of a 40 per cent stake in Ethio Telecom, but the plans have since been put on hold.

Safaricom licence issued by Ethiopia

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