With the M-Pesa mobile money service near takeoff, Safaricom Ethiopia strikes a deal with Hibret Bank to integrate digital money transaction services where the 475 Bank branches function as super-agents for registration, deposit mobilisation and cash withdrawals. The deal was signed between Paul Kavavu, interim general manager of Safaricom Ethiopia and Melaku Kebede, president of Hibert Bank last week at the Bank's headquarters on Ras Abebe Aregay Street. It allows both M-Pesa agents and customers to access the services of Hibret Bank while the one million digital banking customers will also be able to transfer money from their account to the M-Pesa wallet to settle bills and top-up airtime. Paul underscored that they are keen to work with major financial sector players to offer the digital payment solution to their customers. Although he did not reveal the official date to launch the mobile money service, one of its parent companies Vodacom Group Ltd indicated that it will be before the end of September through a trading update released last week. M-Pesa has over 50 million customers across seven countries while averaging over 314 billion dollars worth of transactions a year. Melaku indicated that the mobile money operator will extend banking services to a large segment of the population without access to financial services. "We're chosen because of our technical capacity," said Melaku.
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