Safaricom aims to establish itself on the Ethiopian telecom market. The company is stepping up initiatives to accelerate its growth in order to be competitive against the incumbent operator Ethio Telecom and the second announced private telecom operator.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), both members of the World Bank Group, finalized an agreement earlier this week to support the activities of telecommunications operator Safaricom Ethiopia. The latter will benefit from financing of 257.4 million USD and guarantees for one billion dollars, in order to cover the investments of its shareholders over the next ten years.
World Bank support was announced last June. It should make it possible to accelerate the growth of Safaricom Ethiopia, which aims to repeat in Ethiopia the success of Safaricom in Kenya. The company launched its commercial activities in October 2022 and continues the gradual deployment of its network which already covers 22 cities in the country. In addition, it recently acquired an operating license for the mobile money service M-Pesa which should be operational next September.
These various initiatives should enable Safaricom Ethiopia to be more competitive in the Ethiopian telecom market which is undergoing full liberalization. It is currently dominated by the incumbent operator Ethio Telecom, which had 72 million subscribers as of June 30, 2023, including 34.3 million subscribers to the Telebirr mobile payment service. In addition, a second private telecom operator should soon enter the market.
“ With the arrival of IFC as a financing partner, its experience in global operations and the prestige of their investment bring much praise and respect to the Board of Directors. We look forward to their input to help us move forward in the Ethiopian market ,” said Michael Joseph, then Safaricom Chairman of the Board.