Mobile money M-Pesa ready to launch in Ethiopia

Kenya’s popular mobile money service M-Pesa looks ready to cross borders. According to news reports, Kenya’s Safaricom is negotiating the launch of its M-Pesa services with Ethiopia’s state telecommunications monopoly Ethio Telecom.

Since its launch by Safaricom in 2007, M-Pesa has built a strong base in Kenya and a strong presence across East Africa. Today, M-Pesa has over 152,000 agents and more than 23 million subscribers in Kenya alone and serves over 30 million more subscribers in 10 different countries. According to Reuters and Quartz, “the deal will present Safaricom with a lucrative opportunity to grow revenue and deposits in a market more than twice the size of its home country, with over 100 million Ethiopians.”

The launch of mobile money services could help boost Ethopia’s economy. M-Pesa has developed into a payment platform investing in sectors including insurance, ride-hailing, music, e-commerce, besides launching an all-in-one social network that allows users to chat and send money. According to financial experts, the key issue that will determine M-Pesa’s success in Ethiopia will be if it overcomes challenges with traditional lenders and regulators.

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