Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday evening called on the Ethiopian government to open up opportunities for mobile money services as part of its ongoing telecommunications liberalization process.
Mr Kenyatta said such a move would enable Safaricomtocom to launch its popular M. -Pesa service in the market of more than 110 million people could boost the country’s economy and expand access to financial services.
“Studies have shown that improved access to mobile financial services is of great benefit Poverty Reduction Potential as it enables more people to save more easily and safely and, in fact, greatly affects the kinds of choices they make in life, “said President Kenyatta.
A Safaricom-led Consortium won US $ 850 million (Ksh 91.8 billion) license to enter Ethiopia’s underserved telecommunications market ns.
During his state visit to Ethiopia on Tuesday, the head of state witnessed the formal granting of the operating license to the group, to which Vodafone, B of the British development finance agency CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo.
Joining the consortium will end the state’s monopoly on Ethio Telecom. Safaricom will have a 56 percent stake in the consortium.
Entry into Ethiopia represents a significant growth opportunity for Safaricom, which posted net income of Ksh 68.67 billion (US $ 636 million) in March , with M-Pesa contributing the largest turnover.
The financial service was launched on March 6, 2007.
“In Kenya the success of M-Pesa, if not Africa, is M-Pesa Even global, the first mobile phone money platform, is a classic example of the possibilities that mobile financial services can offer when they are fully exploited, “said President Kenyatta.
” Women have been particularly empowered by these services and can now Participating wisely in business, alongside men. This is an area to which we must devote our joint efforts as we introduce the digital economy, “he said.
Last year, Ethiopia enacted a policy that is only locally based However, non-financial institutions that offer mobile money services have since reversed the decision.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said last month that mobile financial services will be open to competition from May next year, with overseas firms free to contend with Ethio Telecom, which recently launched a similar service called Telebirr.
On Tuesday, Dr. Abiy that the granting of the telecommunications license to Safaricom catalyzes “inclusive prosperity”.
The liberalization of the telecommunications sector is expected to stimulate job creation and the emergence of new micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Safaricom has announced that it will start operations next year after receiving the license and, according to Kenyatta, will create over 1.5 million jobs.