M-Pesa and Onafriq target Ethiopian remittance market

M-Pesa and Onafriq target Ethiopian remittance market

Safaricom Ethiopia’s M-Pesa mobile money service has signed an international money transfer agreement with Onafriq, Africa’s largest digital payments network, which currently operates in 40 African countries.

The companies say this partnership will help streamline remittance flows to Ethiopia.

Through the agreement individuals within Ethiopia are able to receive remittances from different parts of the world through M-Pesa. This is based on an authorisation received from the National Bank of Ethiopia to start the remittance service in 2023.

The remittance flow to countries in sub-Saharan Africa is clearly growing Last year, according to the World Bank, it reached US$54 billion – and more and more businesses are targeting this market, as we reported yesterday. Ethiopia takes nearly a tenth of the remittance flow, with an estimated US$5 billion or more in remittances arriving annually.

The collaboration allows M-Pesa to tap into and leverage Onafriq’s extensive network. This connects 500 million mobile money wallets and 200 million bank accounts. It also enables domestic and cross-border disbursements and collections, card issuing and processing, agency banking and treasury services.

Paul Kavavu, General Manager at Safaricom Ethiopia, says: “Our goal is to make payments easier. The incorporation of international money transfer services into M-Pesa serves that purpose perfectly. This partnership will provide the Ethiopian diaspora with an easy and fast formal channel to send money to their loved ones in Ethiopia.” 

Onafriq connects various payment schemes and 400,000 small-to-medium businesses in its network across what it describes as Africa’s fast-growing yet fragmented payments ecosystem.

Onafriq has had a busy year already. In January we reported that Alviere, a leading embedded finance platform provider, announced that it had been chosen by Onafriq to enable payments and remittances from the United States to Africa.

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