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Safaricom plans to replicate Kenya’s success formula in Ethiopia

Safaricom says it has a plan to enable its Ethiopia operation to reach the heights of success its Kenya operation has and do so within the next ten years.

At the company’s first investor day hosted recently in Nairobi, Anwar Soussa, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC CEO, said: "With a population of approximately 120 million people, a financial inclusion rate of only 35%, 57% mobile penetration, and annual inward remittances of about US$4.2-billion, Ethiopia presents a significant growth opportunity for the business to reach the same level as Kenya within ten years.”

“Our growth trajectory is even more exciting for us as we look forward to offering financial services through M-PESA. We are finalising our commercial and technical readiness and we expect to launch operations within the upcoming financial year.”

The company said it welcomes competition. Recently, Ethio Telecom announced the sale of 45% of the national carrier, raised from the initial 40% sale.

Ethiopia’s government stated: “Low tele-density in Ethiopia highlights the huge untapped potential in Ethiopia’s telecommunication sector. The Company’s robust infrastructure coupled with its strong financial performance will offer a significant competitive advantage to any investors.”

Being a vast country, Ethiopia needs more telecommunication companies said Soussa and added that some infrastructure should be shared to the benefit of the broader telecommunications industry.

Soussa added that the recent peace agreement in the north is expected to attract more investors to the economy, which would further enhance the company's growth trajectory.

As of February 2023, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC had penetrated about 10% of the population, reaching over 11 million people, and had 847 network sites in 25 cities.

The telco has on-boarded 28,000 retailers, 103 distributor shops, and 5,000 acquisition agents.

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