Ndegwa’s First Hurdle As Ethiopia Shuts Down Mpesa Plans
Safaricom’s new chief executive Peter Ndegwa is facing his first hurdle three days after taking the corner office. Ethiopia has said only local companies are allowed to offer Mobile Money platforms in the country killing Safaricom hopes of introducing its popular M-Pesa in the market of 100 million people.The 51-year-old CEO had told journalists that his main business strategy will hinge on M-Pesa and deepening the data business.
“Safaricom is more than just a telecommunications company. Voice is saturated but that what is happening everywhere in the world. Best companies renew themselves,” he said. He also stated that there are still great opportunities in data, M-Pesa and geographical expansion as the telco announced plans to enter Ethiopia.
On Thursday, Ethiopian central bank shone a dim light on the telcos plans announcing only locally-owned non-financial institutions would be allowed to offer mobile money services in the country.
The new directive means that Safaricom will not be able to compete with Ethio Telecom,- a government-owned monopoly- for the mobile money platform in the customer-rich market. If the directive stands Safaricom will have lost a lucrative opportunity to grow revenue and deposits in a market more than twice the size of its home country.