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Ethiopia grants Safaricom's M-Pesa mobile money license

By , Kenya-based correspondent
Ethiopia , 11 May 2023
Peter Ndegwa, CEO Safaricom.
Peter Ndegwa, CEO Safaricom.

The Central Bank of Ethiopia has this morning issued its first mobile money license to a foreign investor in Ethiopia.

The National Bank of Ethiopia today granted mobile money service license to M-Pesa, a subsidiary of telco giant Safaricom.

M-Pesa is Africa’s most successful mobile payment service, launched in Kenya in 2007, the mobile money service has since evolved to become a major driver of financial inclusion with more than 50 million customers across seven countries.

M-Pesa processes more than 61 million transactions a day, making it Africa’s largest fintech provider, and it has attracted 42,000 external developers to create additional services for the platform.

In Ethiopia, Mpesa is set to compete against EthioTelecom’s Telebirr mobile money offering.

In a statement, the National Bank of Ethiopia said it will continue to take measures to deepen Ethiopia's digital finance ecosystem.

“We will strongly support the spread of digital payment systems as a substitute for cash-based transactions within the economy. We will also welcome the introduction of diverse forms of digital financial services so that, ultimately, these become a tool to help citizens transact, save, borrow, invest, and more as Ethiopia's financial system is modernized over the coming years,” said the bank.

Peter Ndegwa, CEO Safaricom, commented: “We are excited that this is a great milestone following our entry into Ethiopia. This positions us to provide essential financial services to the Ethiopian population. We are looking forward to launching and rolling out the service over the next few months.”

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