M-PESA is making its way to Ethiopia, the State Minister of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance has confirmed. Safaricom received its first license of operation in Ethiopia last year, but it did not allow for the setting up of the M-PESA mobile financial service.
The government of Ethiopia suspended bids for a second license of operations in the same year, stalling the launch of M-PESA. However, the Ministry of Finance in Ethiopia has said it will delink the M-PESA permit from the second license. This will happen by May, allowing Safaricom to continue with initial launch plans.
“They have been very active and I think they are planning for a launch sometimes in April and so far have kept their momentum in attaining the critical milestones,” Dr Eyob Tolina, the State Minister of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance in an interview.
Ethio Telecom, a monopoly in that market, is the only other which is operating a mobile financial service. Telebirr by Ethio telecom allows cashless transactions in a country with no bank-to-bank transfers.
Safaricom will introduce M-PESA into a market of 110 million people with a great niche. The growth potential is huge here, considering their robust infrastructure. MPESA services are not just available on sim cards, eSims, my Safaricom app, and M-PESA super App. They are also available in feature phones and through USSD codes.
Furthermore, several utilities and bank services are easily accessible to all M-PESA users. It will be interesting to see how Safaricom’s operation will affect the telco market in Ethiopia.