As part of its regional development efforts to provide world-class telecommunication services to over 112 million Ethiopians, Safaricom plans to commence commercial operations in Ethiopia this year.
Safaricom Ethiopia has hired approximately 300 people, 50 percent of whom are locals, in preparation for the commercial launch, with ambitions to increase to 1,000 in the next financial year. The company has also hired distributors, acquired four retail sites, and opened Addis Ababa’s first outsourced call center.
Safaricom Ethiopia has obtained approvals for the construction of towers, constructed two data centers, made the first test call, sent the first test SMS, and finished the first data session.
“We have made significant progress towards a commercial launch. We are engaging with the Ethiopian Communications Authority and other relevant partners about the requirements for ensuring a commercial launch this year,” Mr Ndegwa said during the announcement of the Full Year 2021/2022 results on 12th May which saw net income increase by 5.4% to KES 72.35 Billion for Safaricom Kenya and declined 1.7% to KES 67.50 Billion including the impact of KES 4.66 Billion financing costs for the Ethiopia business.
Safaricom Ethiopia aims to provide mobile financial services to Ethiopia, according to Mr Ndegwa. However, this is subject to the Ethiopian government’s licensing and regulatory process.
Safaricom’s Service Revenue climbed by 12.3% to KES 281.11 billion, while its Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) increased by 13.5 percent to KES 109.13 billion. Revenue from voice services increased by 0.8 percent to KES 83.21 billion; revenue from mobile data increased by 8.1 percent to KES 48.44 billion; and revenue from M-PESA increased by 30.3 percent to KES 107.69 billion.
Mr Ndegwa said: “Our strong growth and achievements this financial year are due to the strong strategy execution, a dedicated staff force, and the business commitment to prioritize the needs of our customers. We will continue to be a sustainable purpose-led business as we transition to become a technology company by 2025.”
The company’s continuous focus on consumers resulted in a 6.4 percent growth in one-month active subscribers to 42.44 million during the period, with customers expanding across all income streams. Safaricom spent about KES 39.34 billion in Kenya on capital expenditures (CAPEX) to maintain and extend the network, ensuring Kenyans have reliable network coverage and uninterrupted data services. As part of our network deployment plans, Safaricom Plc invested KES 10.44 billion in Ethiopia. This increases the entire CAPEX expenditure for the year to KES 49.78 billion, up 42.4 percent from the previous year.
With the new business strategy and the renewed focus on the customer, Safaricom, in the new Financial Year, plans to accelerate new growth areas, delivering superior customer experience in order to be a purpose-led Technology Company by the end of 2025.
“The Board is encouraged by the recovery in the business from the pandemic in the past year. Two years into Safaricom’s new strategy, the Board continues to support the management in the business plans recording strong achievements in this financial year,” said Michael Joseph, Chairman, Safaricom Board of Directors.