Safaricom Acquire License to Start M-Pesa Money Services In Ethiopia

The Ethiopian government has granted Safaricom the license to start M-Pesa money services in the country.

The license will now allow Safaricom to launch and offer money transfer services in the Ethiopian market in a move that is expected to be a game changer for Safaricom’s Ethiopian unit.

The license was granted by the banking regulator, the National Bank of Ethiopia, at an estimated cost of $150 million (Sh. 20.5 billion at the current exchange rates).

“We are proud that today Safaricom Ethiopia has obtained the M-PESA license to operate mobile money services in Ethiopia, which positions us to provide essential financial services to the Ethiopian population,” said Safaricom chief executive officer Peter Ndegwa.

“We are now getting ready to launch the M-Pesa money services brand in Ethiopia over the next coming months.”

Mr. Ndegwa made the announcement during the release of the Safaricom full-year financial results for the period that ended March 31.

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These financial results showed that Safaricom Ethiopia recorded Sh. 1.8 billion revenues against a full year’s startup costs. The unit saw a loss of Sh. 22 billion in the period which was largely attributed to hyperinflationary adjustments.

“We continued with our sustained investment in our network and systems to support capacity upgrades and user experience. Group capital expenditure in the period stood at Kes 96.1Bn, of which Safaricom Ethiopia  Operating Company accounted for 58 percent at Sh. 55.8 billion,” said Safaricom’s Dilip Pal.

Safaricom also announced that it had accelerated its infrastructure setup in Ethiopia as it sought to penetrate the market further.

As of 31st March, Safaricom had 1,272 sites in Ethiopia active on 2G, 3G, and 4G, and an additional 379 sites under construction.

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