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Safaricom eyes two million M-Pesa clients in Ethiopia by March


Safaricom eyes two million M-Pesa clients in Ethiopia by March

Thursday July 27 2023

Safaricom PLC Chief Finance Officer, Dilip Pal. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Safaricom is targeting to sign up at least two million customers on its M-Pesa mobile money service in the Ethiopian market by the end of the current financial year that is set to close in March 2024.

The telco said it is also on course to meet its earlier target of onboarding 10 million subscribers by the same date.

Read: IFC injects Sh36bn in Safaricom Ethiopia

Safaricom Chief Finance Officer Dilip Pal in a status update webinar, said the company sees optimal competition with rival Ethio Telecom (Ethiotel) when the telco business is combined with mobile money services.

Safaricom has lined up plans to launch M-Pesa in the populous country before the close of the quarter ending September this year to take on Ethiotel’s Telebirr service, which was unveiled in May last year.

Mr Pal said it will take a shorter time for M-Pesa to gain traction in Ethiopia than it did in Kenya, where it was launched in 2007, due to the huge demand.

“Ethiotel has broken records with Telebirr usage since its launch last year and that sends a very encouraging signal to us. In its mobile money operations, Ethiotel is helping raise awareness so that when we come in, it will be easier for us to take off,” said Pal.

Telebirr reported having attracted up to four million users just weeks after launch pointing to the rich potential held by the market.

Read: Safaricom connects 21 cities in Ethiopia

The Safaricom-led consortium obtained a mobile money service operating licence in May this year, becoming the first foreign-owned entity to be granted approval after paying $150 million (Sh21.3 billion at the current exchange rates) as permit fees to the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), which is the country’s banking sector regulator.

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