President Kenyatta urges Ethiopia to open up mobile money market

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali witnessed the issuance of a telecommunications operations license to Safaricom in downtown Addis Ababa

By The Weekly Vision

President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Ethiopia to open up its telecoms sector to private mobile money business investors, a move that would complement a process already underway to reform the sector and bring in foreign investment.

Ethiopia is opening up its telecoms sector, hitherto a monopoly of the state-owned Ethio Telecom, and last month authorities awarded the first private operator licence. Currently, though only Ethio Telecom is allowed to offer mobile financial services while foreign operators are barred by law from participating.

Kenya’s Safaricom led a consortium that includes South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone, they won the licence with a bid of $850 million

“I am hopeful that your government will consider soon, opening up the opportunity for mobile money in Ethiopia,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said on a visit to Ethiopia to attend a ceremony in the capital Addis Ababa where a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom was officially awarded its operating licence. The consortium also includes South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone. They won the licence with a bid of $850 million.

“This move will be particularly timely, as it will offer the millions of Ethiopian people avenues for financial inclusion.”

“The partners will establish a new operating company in Ethiopia which aims to start providing telecommunication services from 2022,” they said in a joint statement. Other partners in the consortium are British development finance agency CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation.

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