Safaricom Reiterates Pursuing Ethiopia Entry Following Tough Mobile Money Regulations

Safaricom interim CEO Michael Joseph and Chairman Nicholas Nganga

A couple of weeks ago, Ethiopia announced that it has opened the floor for mobile money for telcos.

The development means that new participants, including non-financial organizations that were not allowed to run mobile money services and products, can now take part in the lucrative space.

Ethiopia’s plan to liberalize the telco space is part of its $10 billion economic boost agenda.

Ethio Telecom, the state-owned operator is one of the first carriers that will start serving the mobile money space.

However, Ethio is set to be sold and has since received interests from Safaricom. MTN and Orange SA are also interested in purchasing a stake in the company.

The three companies run robust mobile money solutions in their markets.

However, the announcement limited mobile money services to local organizations, implying that the case of Safaricom’s M-PESA or any other foreign fintech product would not be possible.

However, during the 2019/2020 FY announcement for Safaricom, the outgoing interim CEO Michael Joseph revealed that Safaricom is still pursuing entry leads in Ethiopia.

“Investment into Ethiopia is in the pipeline pending the decision by the Government of Ethiopia,” said the outgoing CEO, Michael Joseph.

This means that the carrier is pushing for negotiations to buy a stake in Ethios, and possibly make the country change its mind about which companies should run mobile money services.

Safaricom has officially welcomed its new CEO Peter Ndegwa, who joined the company on April 1, taking over from Michael Joseph who was called back to the company after the passing of Bob Collymore.

The 2019/2020 announcement is his first official appearance.