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NBE grants the first mobile money license to a foreign investor in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, May 11, 2023 (FBC) – The National Bank of Ethiopia has today issued a mobile money service license to Safaricom M-Pesa Mobile Financial Service Plc, a subsidiary of Safaricom Telecommunication Ethiopia Plc, NBE announced this morning.

It is stated that this is the first mobile money license granted to a foreign investor in Ethiopia.

“The issuance of the mobile money license reflects the NBE’s on-going objective of fostering financial innovation and inclusion in the Ethiopian market. With NBE support, the menu of digital finance offerings including mobile banking, mobile wallets, internet banking, and card banking has expanded rapidly in recent years, showing the strong underlying public demand for the use of such services. We welcome this shift to the use of digital financial services so as to bring greater efficiency, safety, and transparency to the country’s rapidly growing financial system”, the official statement said.

It is also further stated that, looking ahead, the NBE will continue to take measures to deepen Ethiopia’s digital finance ecosystem. “To this end, we will strongly support the spread of digital payment systems as a substitute for cash-based transactions within the economy. We will also welcome the introduction of diverse forms of digital financial services so that, ultimately, these become a tool to help citizens transact, save, borrow, invest, and more as Ethiopia’s financial system is modernized over the coming years”, the statement underlined.

NBE also wished Safaricom’s M-PESA service well as it launches its operations in the very near future.

Following the license grant, Anwar Soussa, CEO of Safaricom Ethiopia, wrote on his twitter page, saying; “Today, we have been granted a mobile money service license by the NBE. We are thrilled to expand our services into Ethiopia and look forward to empowering more people with access to safe, secure, and convenient financial services.”

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