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Ethiopia: Consortium will have to wait one year for mobile money licence

Safaricom’s telecommunications licence, secured through its affiliation with the Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium, will not include mobile money at this time said CEO Peter Ndegwa.

At a press briefing this week, Ndegwa confirmed that a mobile money license will be available in twelve months, according to the Ethiopian government.

Safaricom has continued to position its mobile money product, M-Pesa to fit the African market through M-Pesa Africa, a support mechanism to ensure that the mobile money platform is accepted even in regions with little to no telecommunications industry.

Ethio Telecom recently launched the country’s first mobile money service named, Telebirr, which Ndegwa sees as a good move for the local market and for the consortium.

“We made it very clear from the beginning that for the country to fully benefit from the mobile telecommunication mobile money is a critical component of the operation and therefore we are happy that the government has committed that the new licensees will be allowed to operate mobile money within a relatively short time,” said Ndegwa.

He added that the consortium will seek to take advantage of the growing SME market in Ethiopia by introducing cloud-based services and IOT.

Ndegwa did not divulge how much the consortium will invest in the country or how Safaricom and other investors will raise investment money in the country.

“We are capable of mobilising quickly and roll out to the Ethiopian population. This is a long-term investment for us. We are known for our success here in Kenya. There would be a lot of work to be done [in Ethiopia] but we will get there. It is a great moment for Safaricom, Kenya and the relations between Kenya and Ethiopia.”

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