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Ethiopia’s private telecom firm launches M-Pesa mobile money service

M-PESA eyes global remittances market’s multi-trillion dollar surge [Graphics: Hope Mukami/birdstoryagency]
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | Xinhua |  Ethiopia’s first private telecom firm Safaricom Ethiopia has officially introduced its mobile financial service, M-Pesa, three months after the telecom company received the payment instrument issuer license from the National Bank of Ethiopia.

In preparation for the launch, M-Pesa has undergone a rigorous three-month pilot and testing, completed the technical readiness, secured key partnerships with banks, recruited, trained, and onboarded M-Pesa agents, Safaricom Ethiopia disclosed in a statement issued Wednesday.

All Safaricom Ethiopia customers are now eligible for the services offered by M-Pesa. By using M-Pesa, customers can send money within the country and receive money from within the country and abroad, pay merchants, buy airtime, transfer to their bank accounts, and send money from their bank accounts to their M-Pesa, the company said.

“We are excited to go live with M-Pesa in Ethiopia and start providing Mobile Financial Services to our customers,” the statement quoted Stanley Njoroge, Interim CEO of Safaricom Ethiopia, as saying.

M-Pesa is expected to face stiff competition from Ethiopia’s state-owned Ethio-Telecom’s mobile money platform TeleBirr, which was launched in May 2021.

Paul Kavavu, Interim General Manager of Safaricom M-PESA Mobile Financial Services Private Limited Company, said M-Pesa is Africa’s most successful mobile money service and the region’s largest fintech platform both for the banked and unbanked due to its safety and convenience.

Kavavu said in Kenya, M-Pesa has enabled the growth of financial inclusion that over 90 percent of the adult population has access to mobile banking.

“We look forward to replicating this success in Ethiopia and are excited to go live with the services. In the coming months we will continue to add more functions and work with all Ethiopians to jointly realize the transformative power of M-PESA,” Kavavu said. ■

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