Kenyan telecom company Safaricom is reportedly in advanced talks with Ethiopian officials to introduce mobile money service M-Pesa to the landlocked country.
According to the Reuters news agency, Ethio Telecom will carry the service, while Safaricom will host the servers back in Nairobi.
If this goes ahead, the deal will present Safaricom with a lucrative opportunity to grow revenue and deposits in a market more than twice the size of its home country, with over 100 million Ethiopians.
M-Pesa’s introduction could also have a notable impact on Ethiopians, who could use it to not only send and receive money but also borrow, save, and pay for services.
Since its launch in 2007, M-Pesa has built a dominant base at home in Kenya and a strong presence across East Africa. Safaricom’s head Bob Collymore has in the past noted M-Pesa needed to be more innovative or risk dying, and looked to Ethiopia as a favourite destination for expansion.
M-Pesa currently has over 152,000 agents and more than 23 million subscribers in Kenya alone and servesover 30 million more subscribers in 10 different countries.