The value of transactions through M-PESA in Ethiopia surged to Kes18.5 billion by December 31, propelled by the company’s strategic expansion efforts in the new market.
The telco giant witnessed a substantial increase in registered customers, reaching 3.1 million just five months after launching cash transfer services in Africa’s second most populous country.
“We have made significant progress in expanding network roll-out and the great momentum M-PESA has gained since switching on M-PESA services on 15 August 2023,” Safaricom Plc CEO Peter Ndegwa noted.
Safaricom Ethiopia has registered over 26,200 M-PESA agents and 43,100 merchants, covering an impressive 33 percent of the market.
Interoperability with nine banks for M-PESA to Bank (C2B) and seven banks for Bank to M-PESA (B2C) services is significantly enhancing the accessibility of the mobile money platform.
“We are now interoperable with 9 banks including Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Dashen Bank, Bank of Abyssinia, Awash International Bank, Co-operative Bank of Oromia, Abay Bank, Hibret Bank, Berhan Bank and Bunna Bank for M-PESA to Bank,” Safaricom Ethiopia said.
M-PESA users in Ethiopia can now enjoy a range of services, including deposits, withdrawals, peer-to-peer transfers, airtime and data purchases, merchant payments, and international money remittances (inbound transfers only).
Safaricom Ethiopia recognizes the untapped potential in Ethiopia, with the National Financial Inclusion Strategy aiming to increase financial inclusion from 45 percent to 70 percent by 2025, driven in part by mobile money services.
The telco’s network expansion, with 2,242 base stations covering 33 cities, now reaches 33 percent of Ethiopia’s population. “Our focus now is to densify connectivity to continue enhancing quality of connectivity as we create a contiguous network,” said the telco.
In the nine months, the company’s active customer base soared to 2.66, reflecting substantial growth. Mobile data usage per subscriber has exceeded levels in Kenya, showcasing the positive response to Safaricom’s services.
Safaricom’s role in Ethiopia extends beyond telecommunications, with CEO Peter Ndegwa highlighting the establishment of the fastest data network and initial steps in providing inclusive digital financial services.
The IMF projects Ethiopia’s economy to grow by 6.2 percent in 2024, with the government’s focusing on reducing inflation, enhancing agriculture production, and attracting foreign direct investment.
In 2007, Safaricom launched M-Pesa in Kenya, and since then, it has evolved into the company’s primary revenue generator. The service has expanded its footprint to include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
However, in Ethiopia, a nation with a population of 120 million, Safaricom is encountering competition from Ethio Telecom. By July 2023, Ethio Telecom boasted over 34 million subscribers for its mobile cash transfer service, Telebirr.