Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (20 February 2023)
The National Bank of Ethiopia has proposed a whopping $150 million license fee for mobile operators looking to enter the country. According to a draft proposal signed by the Payment and Settlement System Director at the National Bank of Ethiopia, the regulator has dubbed this fee as an investment protection cost.
This fee will be paid by foreign nationals who invest in businesses that are reserved exclusively for domestic investors or the government. The draft law opens the door to discussions on the progress of Safaricom’s application to launch mobile money services in Ethiopia.
Safaricom, a leading Kenyan telecommunications company, has indicated its interest in introducing its mobile money services, M-Pesa, into the Ethiopian market. However, the license issued to Safaricom only allowed the company to compete against the state monopoly Ethio Telecom, without offering its revolutionary money-remittance services due to legal limitations.
In April of the same year, Ethiopia’s Central Bank drafted a bill that opened the door for foreign investors, such as Safaricom, to offer mobile money services in the country. This move was seen as a significant shift in Ethiopia’s economic policies as a way to attract more foreign investment.
The new directive also increases the amount that can be held in digital wallets, allowing for more electronic account balances and higher transaction limits. Level 1 accounts are subject to a maximum daily electronic account balance of 10,000 Birr, and an aggregate daily transaction limit of 20,000 birr. Level 2 accounts are capped at a maximum electronic balance of 100,000 Birr and an aggregate daily transaction limit of 300,000 birr.
Source: Tech Nova
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