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M-PESA Safaricom and Onafriq Partner to Facilitate Ethiopian Remittances

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M-PESA Safaricom has entered into an International Money Transfer Agreement with Onafriq, Africa’s largest digital payments network spanning 40 countries, aimed at streamlining remittance flows to Ethiopia.

M‑PESA offers convenient financial services via mobile phones, requiring only a Safaricom sim card, without the need for a bank account. Through this collaboration, individuals in Ethiopia can receive remittances from around the world via M-PESA, following authorization from the National Bank of Ethiopia to commence remittance services in July 2023.

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The World Bank reported a surge in remittance flows to sub-Saharan African countries in 2023, reaching $54 billion, with notable growth in countries like Mozambique, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. Despite this positive trend, more efforts are needed as remittances play a vital role in poverty reduction and GDP contribution.

Ethiopia’s Director General of Ethiopian Diaspora, Mohammed Endris, previously highlighted the significance of remittances, which account for up to 40-50% of GDP in some countries, contrasting with Ethiopia’s 5% remittance share. Collaborations like M-PESA Safaricom and Onafriq’s partnership are expected to contribute positively to this ratio.

The integration of International Money Transfer capability expands M-PESA’s reach by leveraging Onafriq’s extensive network, linking 500 million mobile money wallets and 200 million bank accounts. This broad connectivity facilitates domestic and cross-border transactions, card issuance and processing, agency banking, and treasury services.

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

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Nika Naghavi, Group Head of Growth at Onafriq, believes the partnership will drive Ethiopia’s digital transformation strategy, aligning with ‘Digital Ethiopia 2025’ to promote financial inclusion, banking innovation, and adoption of digital solutions.

The service aligns with Ethiopia’s efforts to boost foreign currency inflows through formal channels, offering a secure, inclusive, and reliable service to customers through M-PESA.

 

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