ETHIOPIA – Safaricom, through M-Pesa, has inked a deal with Onafriq, Africa’s digital payments network, operating in 40 African countries, to help streamline remittance flows into Ethiopia.

M-Pesa facilitates quick and accessible transactions without requiring a bank account, only a Safaricom SIM card.

With authorization from the National Bank of Ethiopia, the mobile money platform now allows Ethiopians to receive international remittances.

The incorporation of International Money Transfer capability into its offering allows M-PESA to tap into and leverage Onafriq’s extensive network, connecting 500 million mobile money wallets and 200 million bank accounts. 

This vast reach enables domestic and cross-border disbursements and collections, card issuing and processing, agency banking, and treasury services.

Our goal is to make payments easier, and the incorporation of International Money Transfer services into M-PESA serves that purpose perfectly,” Paul Kavavu, General Manager at Safaricom Ethiopia, said.

“Ethiopia generates more than US$5 billion in remittances annually and this partnership will provide the Ethiopian Diaspora with an easy and fast formal channel to send money to their loved ones in Ethiopia.” 

Nika Naghavi, Group Head of Growth at Onafriq, added that the partnership will directly stimulate the realization of Ethiopia’s digital transformation strategy. 

The strategy termed ‘Digital Ethiopia 2025’, places emphasis on enabling systems through digital transformation, of which digital payments form a crucial part. 

The country’s solution to this includes ensuring financial inclusion, innovation in the banking system and the adoption of innovative solutions.

“We have always believed that payments should be a simple process, as simple as a phone call – connecting individuals through increased access,” said Naghavi.

The agreement with M-PESA Safaricom extends our reach in Africa even further and strengthens our position as the largest payment network on the continent. 

We are confident that this partnership will positively impact economic growth and the achievement of greater sustainable development goals.” 

The service complements Ethiopia’s efforts to generate foreign currency inflow through formal channels, offering a safe, inclusive and reliable service to customers through M-PESA. 

The World Bank reported a significant increase in remittances to sub-Saharan Africa in 2023, reaching US$54 billion, an increase from the previous year’s gain.

Despite progress, Ethiopia aims to increase its remittances, currently at 5 percent, in contribution to GDP as well as reducing poverty, through partnerships like M-Pesa’s with Onafriq.

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