Kenya’s Safaricom Determined to Enter Ethiopian Market

ADDIS ABABA – Kenya’s largest mobile phone operator Safaricom is pinning its pan-African expansion plans on the Ethiopian market, says its top official.

The telco is betting on Ethiopia’s planned privatization of the state monopoly Ethio Telecom and the sale of two new telecom licenses to gain a foothold in Africa’s fastest-growing economy.

The outgoing Safaricom chief executive Michael Joseph told The EastAfrican that telco’s plan to invest in the Horn of Africa is still on after the firm completed the acquisition of the mobile money platform M-Pesa from Britain’s Vodafone through a joint venture with South Africa’s Vodacom in April.

“Safaricom and Vodacom have acquired the M-Pesa brand, including, product development and support services. The acquisition will now enhance further expansion into the Africa market. Our investment into Ethiopia is still in the pipeline pending the decision by the government,” said Joseph.

Ethiopia had planned to award two telecoms licenses to multinational mobile companies this year.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority recently tabled the draft directives for the licensing of telecommunication companies inviting submissions from stakeholders from April 28 to May 11.