In Ethiopia Mobile Money License to Safaricom M-Pesa Signals New Era for Digital Finance

Ethiopia has granted a license to Safaricom, a telecommunications company based in Kenya, to launch its mobile money service M-Pesa in the country. Ethiopia is considered to be a highly promising market for mobile banking services, making this license approval a major development. (Photo: Twitter)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 12th, 2023

New York (TADIAS) — In a significant development, Ethiopia has granted a mobile money license to Safaricom’s M-Pesa, making it the first foreign player to gain entry into the country’s digital finance market.

The license approval is expected to provide millions of unbanked Ethiopians with access to various mobile banking services such as mobile wallet, internal banking, and card banking.

The move is seen as a significant boost for both the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), which issued the license, and M-Pesa, which gets immediate access to one of the largest untapped telecom markets in Africa.

According to NBE, this decision aligns with its goal of “fostering financial innovation and inclusion in the Ethiopian market.”

Despite Safaricom’s M-Pesa reporting a net loss of Sh21.7 billion, the company anticipates breaking even in its fourth year of operation in Ethiopia.

The service is expected to roll out before the end of the year, signaling the start of a new era for digital finance in Ethiopia.


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