Outgoing Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao hailed m-Pesa as subsidiary Vodacom’s “live” growth opportunity in Africa, highlighting both the potential of the product and the social good derived from the service.

Speaking at his final media update call in the role, Colao reiterated earlier comments from executives at Vodacom talking-up the potential to export the mobile money operation to new markets across Africa.

Answering a question about the potential of Vodafone, and its associates, to enter new countries in Africa as regulators open markets, Colao said: “Never say never, but today we don’t see any live or urgent opportunity, except the growth of m-Pesa.”

He added the mobile money platform was a “great product” and its expansion a focus for Vodacom.

The comments come a week after rumours emerged Ethiopia was likely to be the next export market for the m-Pesa service.

The brand is operated by Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom in Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique and Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also used by Vodafone in Egypt and India, and had previously been available in Albania and Romania.

In the wake of the transferring of Vodafone’s stake in Safaricom to Vodacom during 2017, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said the company aimed to be formidable in the financial services sector.