In a landmark move poised to significantly enhance financial inclusion and streamline the flow of remittances into Ethiopia, M-PESA Safaricom, has announced a strategic partnership with Onafriq, the largest digital payments network in Africa. This collaboration marks a pivotal step towards facilitating easier, safer, and more efficient international money transfers to Ethiopia, aligning with both entities’ vision of fostering economic growth and enhancing digital financial services across the continent.

Announced recently, this partnership leverages M-PESA’s robust mobile financial service platform and Onafriq’s extensive digital payments network, which spans 40 African countries. M-PESA, known for democratizing access to financial services through mobile technology, enables users to conduct financial transactions seamlessly without the need for a traditional bank account, using just a Safaricom Ethiopia SIM card.

The integration of International Money Transfer capabilities into M-PESA’s service offering is a strategic move that taps into Onafriq’s network, connecting 500 million mobile money wallets and 200 million bank accounts across the continent. This vast network supports a wide range of financial services, including domestic and cross-border disbursements, card issuing, agency banking, and more, significantly expanding M-PESA’s reach and service portfolio.

This partnership comes at a crucial time, as remittances play a vital role in the economies of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2023, remittances to the region surged to $54 billion, with Ethiopia among the countries experiencing significant growth. Remittances contribute substantially to poverty reduction and GDP growth in these countries, and the new partnership aims to enhance Ethiopia’s capacity to attract more formal remittance flows.

Paul Kavavu, General Manager at Safaricom Ethiopia, highlighted the significance of this partnership, stating, “Ethiopia generates more than five billion USD in remittances annually. This partnership will provide the Ethiopian Diaspora with an easy and fast formal channel to send money to their loved ones in Ethiopia, making payments as simple as making a phone call.”

Onafriq’s Group Head of Growth, Nika Naghavi, emphasized the alignment of this partnership with Ethiopia’s digital transformation strategy, ‘Digital Ethiopia 2025’. The strategy focuses on leveraging digital technology to enhance financial inclusion, banking innovation, and the adoption of cutting-edge solutions. Naghavi expressed confidence that the collaboration would significantly contribute to Ethiopia’s economic growth and the attainment of sustainable development goals.

The initiative not only aims to facilitate the flow of remittances into Ethiopia but also underscores the importance of leveraging digital platforms to enhance financial inclusion and support economic development across Africa. With the backing of the National Bank of Ethiopia, M-PESA Safaricom and Onafriq are set to make a profound impact on the lives of millions, fostering greater connectivity and financial empowerment.

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