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Ethiopians can now use Kenya’s Safaricom M-PESA.

Three months after Safaricom Ethiopia’s Mobile Financial Services, the organisation in charge of running the mobile money behemoth M-PESA in the nation, was introduced, it has now officially launched in Ethiopia.

“We can’t wait to launch M-PESA in Ethiopia and begin offering our consumers mobile financial services. According to Stanley Njoroge, interim CEO of Safaricom Ethiopia, “M-PESA is known to be a game-changer for financial inclusion and offers services to more than 51 million customers across seven countries in Africa while providing a safe and secure platform for transactions.

Both the iOS and Android-compatible M-PESA Safaricom Ethiopia smartphone app and the USSD code *733# can be used to access the service. However, a post on the Safaricom Ethiopia X account indicates that customers won’t be able to download the app until the coming weeks.

Following payment of an investment, the telecom company was granted a mobile money licence in Ethiopia in May 2023.

According to Safaricom, the launch comes after a rigorous three-month pilot and testing period. The company completed this step by becoming technically ready, forming crucial alliances with banks, hiring, educating, and integrating M-PESA agents into the system.

M-PESA will face off against Telebirr, a service offered by Ethio Telecom and operating since 2021. With a customer base of 34.3 million and the ability to handle $12.3 billion in transactions, Telebirr has become well-known in Ethiopia’s financial industry.

Significant digital financial services are provided by Telebirr, including Telebirr Sanduq and Endekise. These services have permitted the distribution of microloans accumulating to $74.4 million, catering to 2.4 million users, and facilitating over $3.6 billion in micro-savings.

By launching loan and savings products, Telebirr hopes to expand its menu of offerings in a manner similar to M-PESA’s strategy. This will be done in conjunction with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. Its wide-ranging network includes:

107,300 agents, 136 master agents, and 615 service centres
The parent company of TeleBirr, Ethio Telecom, recently reported an increase in customers of 8%, totaling 72 million, making it the second-biggest firm in Africa and the 21st largest in the world.

More than a year after the Ethiopian government accepted Safaricom Ethiopia’s $850 million bid for operations in May 2021, activities there began formally in October 2022. The business reported in its own half-year results released in November 2022 that it had already amassed 1 million customers after just one month of operation.

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