Safaricom receives $257 million to boost digital financing in Ethiopia

Safaricom Ethiopia is set to receive funds from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), members of the World Bank Group.

The company will receive support in the form of full equity investment, a loan and guarantees to support the on-going construction and operation of their greenfield telecommunications network to drive digital connectivity across Ethiopia.

The deal between the two parties was officially closed two months after the IFC’s agreement to invest $157.4 million in equity in Global Partnership for Ethiopia BV (GPE) and a $100 million A-loan into its subsidiary, Safaricom Ethiopia Plc.

“The progress Safaricom Ethiopia has achieved in such a short period is nothing short of remarkable. With the highly anticipated launch of M-PESA, we are excited to witness the profound impact it will have not only on the telecommunications landscape but also on improving financial inclusion for all people across Ethiopia.” Said Mr Mohamed Gouled, Vice President of Industries at IFC.

Following the closure of this transaction, IFC will hold a minority equity stake in the Global Partnership for Ethiopia BV (GPE), while Safaricom PLC remains the majority shareholder.

The other members of the consortium include Vodafone, Vodacom, Sumitomo Corporation, and British International Investment (BII).

“With IFC coming on board as an equity partner, their experience in global operations and the stature of their investment brings a lot of praise and respect to the board. We look forward to their input in helping us make strides in the Ethiopian market.” Said Mr. Michael Joseph, Safaricom Ethiopia Chairman.

The company added that, this significant investment will expedite the company’s ambitious plans to provide affordable internet and reliable connectivity across Ethiopia.

Safaricom has secured a license to operate in Ethiopia, paying a spectrum fee of $850 million. Furthermore, the company has revealed that it plans to invest a total of $8.5 billion over the next decade.

Apart from signing on new subscribers, Safaricom is also introducing its M-Pesa financial services in the next few months, after securing a financial licence in May.

Safaricom has appointed Wim Vanhelleputte as CEO of its Ethiopia business from September 2023.

Vanhelleputte, who joins from SA’s MTN Group where he served in various roles over the years, including as CEO of MTN Uganda, will replace Anwar Soussa, who left his post last July.


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