Safaricom eyes Ethiopia for mobile money expansion - Mobile World Live

Safaricom eyes Ethiopia for mobile money expansion

17 JUL 2018

Ethiopia was tipped as an expansion target for Safaricom’s m-Pesa mobile money service, as Reuters reported the Kenyan operator is in advanced negotiations with government officials to offer the product there.

Sources told Reuters the pair are considering a deal under which Vodafone Group would licence the m-Pesa brand name to an Ethiopia-based bank. The service would be offered through Ethio Telecom, the country’s state-run telecommunications company, but Safaricom would provide the back-end technology.

Analysts speculated Safaricom could receive a 10 per cent to 25 per cent share of annual revenue from the expansion for its role hosting the service’s servers. M-Pesa revenue in Kenya reached around $627 million in 2017.

Safaricom’s decision to push m-Pesa beyond its home market isn’t all that surprising. During the operator’s most recent earnings call, CEO Bob Collymore said Safaricom was on the hunt for “attractive opportunities to take m-Pesa to other markets”.

The move would introduce m-Pesa to a new market of around 100 million people. As of May 2018, the service had 28.64 million customers.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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