By Staff Writer
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Ethiopian Airlines has made official that it has chosen M-pesa, Safaricom’s internet payment system, as one of its payment options, sources disclosed here today.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Mesfin Tassew, and Safaricom Ethiopia’s new Chief Executive Officer, Wim Vanhelleputte, as well as M-pesa officials, are expected to sign the agreement this week, the Amharic Weekly, the Reporter said.
This will allow the customers and travelers of the Ethiopian Airlines to use the new M-pesa internet payment system to purchase tickets and conduct other sales, it was noted.
“We have the same agreement with Tele-birr. Tele-marketing sales are underway. And since Safaricom is the new Tele-Com Company, we will enter into another contract agreement with Safaricom Mpesa. This means that a customer who uses Tele-birr can use Tele-birr when buying a ticket with the Airline or making another sale. A customer using Mpesa means that the Airline can use Mpesa to purchase tickets or conduct other sales. Therefore, Mpesa serves as a new alternative payment system for the airline. In the future, when new payment system options are necessary, we will enter into a similar contract agreement,” the Ethiopian Airlines officials told the Reporter.
Following the launch of Kenya’s Safaricom’s operations in Ethiopia, M-pesa has also gone functional in Ethiopia a few months ago with a $150 million license from the National Bank. The business competition between Ethio Telecom’s Tele-birr and Safaricom’s M-pesa, which is a government development company, is attracting attention from now on.
Tele-birr has generated 41 million customers so far, and in the last six months sales worth 911 billion Birr were made through the Tele-birr payment system, according to Ethio Telecom’s annual report released yesterday.
Mpesa, the leading Internet e-commerce platform in Kenya, has revealed that it is rapidly gaining customers. Two months ago, Mpesa announced that it had 16 billion birr in sales in the first three months of its operation.
In comparison, Tele-birr’s sales in the first five months when it started operating two years ago was one billion birr. However, the fact that all government institutions, including fuel sales, have made their payment systems through Tele-birr has made Tele-birr grow rapidly.
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