Safaricom Ethiopia has launched its mobile money platform M-Pesa today (August 16), as it continues to challenge incumbent state-owned operator Ethio Telecom.
The operator went live with its mobile money service three months after gaining its licence from the National Bank of Ethiopia. In the past three months, Safaricom completed tests, secured key partnerships with banks, and recruited M-Pesa agents for today’s launch.
The service will be available for Safaricom customers at first on Android and iPhones in the coming weeks.
M-Pesa enables subscribers who do not qualify for bank accounts to send and receive money electronically, as well as pay merchants, bills and purchase airtime.
The service is available in seven other African countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania. Over 51 million customers are signed up to M-Pesa. In Kenya, the interim general manager of Safaricom M-PESA Mobile Financial Services, Paul Kavavu, said M-Pesa connected 90% of the adult population to mobile banking.
Safaricom Ethiopia interim CEO Stanley Njoroge said in a statement: “We will continue to broaden the services our customers receive from the M-PESA platform that will improve the quality of life for our customers. M-PESA will play its part in fast-tracking digital inclusion and promoting innovation outlined in the Digital Payments Strategy 2025.”