Safaricom reports significant M-PESA growth in Ethiopia
Safaricom reported the growth of the M-PESA mobile money service in Ethiopia, with 3.1 million customers as of December 31, 2023.
M-PESA service was launched in the East African country in August of last year.
Currently, M-PESA has 26,200 agents and 43,100 merchants, according to the company's third quarter 2023 update.
"We are very pleased with the optimism that M-PESA has evoked in the youthful population of Ethiopia, and we look forward with great excitement to the transformation M-PESA will bring to financial inclusion in Ethiopia," said Peter Ndegwa, chief executive officer of Safaricom.
"These numbers will continue to grow as the network expands and as M-PESA penetrates in the market."
Ndegwa feels that due to low levels of financial inclusion, the opportunity for M-PESA in the country with a population of over 128.4 million remains unexplored.
According to the National Bank of Ethiopia, 45 percent of the adult population had a bank account in 2020.
The National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2021-2025) seeks to promote financial inclusion among all citizens from 45 percent to 70 percent by 2025, in part by expanding digital payments via mobile money services.
Ethiopia also plans to raise the adoption of digital payments from 20% of all adults in 2020 to 49% by 2025.
Ndegwa believes this provides a potential for M-PESA to increase financial inclusion to levels seen in Kenya, where the service is popular.