Regarded by many in 2010 as the most successful mobile money platform in the developing world, M-Pesa will be rolling into Ethiopia as the country has started changing its payment laws to boost Safaricom's plan to establish a mobile money unit. As Safaricom seeks to begin operations, the central bank in Ethiopia has drafted a bill that would favor offering mobile money services by foreign investors.
Currently, there is no provision for licenses that can enable foreign investors or operators to enter the mobile money market. However, a new amendment will champion a new economic reform and open a gateway that would foster a cashless society and digital finance which remains the primary purpose of the mobile money industry. Ethiopia can set up a heterogeneous market that would provide over 40 million users with new existing alternative mobile money services.
Companies like Safaricom would soon be able to engage in the bidding process to obtain a license for operation. The future of the mobile money market in Ethiopia would see a reduction in the monopoly of Telebirr by Ethio Telecom which is the state-owned mobile money service launched in 2017.
Ethiopia in focus:
Population: 115 million in 2020 as compared to 112 million in 2019
GDP: $107.6 billion compared to $95.9 billion in 2019
GDP per capita: $936 in 2020 compared to $855 in 2019