Uhuru upbeat as Safaricom enters Ethiopia’s telecommunication market

Safaricom Ethiopia
President Uhuru Kenyatta in Ethiopia. [Photo: Courtesy]

Kenya’s giant telecom Safaricom’s entry into the Ethiopian market will bolster its economy, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday said.

President Kenyatta flew to Ethiopia on Tuesday where he met Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

He thanked his administration for opening up the telecommunication sector and allowing foreign operators into the industry.

“Today’s ceremony is the first step in an exciting and rewarding opportunity for Ethiopia. Kenya has seen the great gains and opportunities unleashed by Safaricom across the entirety of our socio-economic landscape,” said President Kenyatta.

Kenyatta will witness the formal award of Safaricom operating license.

He said that Safaricom’s presence in Ethiopia will greatly impact digital presence, mobile money, telephony, data and fibre connectivity, and business solutions.

The Ethiopian government was also urged to open doors for mobile money services such as M-Pesa as part of the telecommunications liberalisation process.

Kenyatta while emphasizing the need for M-Pesa rollout said that “In Kenya, the success of M-Pesa, Africa’s, if not global, first mobile money platform, is a classic example of what possibilities lie in mobile financial services, if fully exploited.

“Studies have shown that enhanced access to mobile financial services, have a great potential to reduce poverty as more people are enabled, easier and safer savings and in effect, greatly influencing the kind of choices they make in life,” he stated.

An expected 1.5 million job opportunities will be created once Safaricom and partners begin operations.

Safaricom beat MTN Group Limited in the bid to enter Ethiopia’s telecommunication market.

The entry of foreign firms into the sector is geared towards economic recovery.