• Kenyan operator gives a hint of digital services that will form part of its line‑up when it debuts in Ethiopia next year.

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Safaricom to seed DigiFarm agri services in Ethiopia

Source: Pixabay / William Sturgell

Safaricom signalled plans to extend its growing DigiFarm business to Ethiopia when it brings services to the country in 2022 (Vodafonewatch, #201 and passim).

New OpCo Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia (STE) advertised this week for a Subject Matter Expert, Agriculture, to take “end‑to‑end accountability for implementing DigiFarm systems in Ethiopia”.

The post holder will focus on defining STE’s “overall strategy” in the agricultural sector, as well as “designing and developing insightful content‑led value propositions [and] crafting the strategy to drive content acquisition and content adoption through strategic partnerships”. The job will involve working with a complex set of partners internally and externally”, STE added.

The move means DigiFarm Kenya — a 100%‑owned subsidiary of Safaricom, set up in 2019 — will now expand into a second market. Its offering — which gives feature phone users access to a range of services including advice, educational content, credit scoring, crop insurance, input loans, and payments — was in use by almost 63,000 Kenyan farmers at 31 March 2021, according to Safaricom. It is said to have generated 62% growth in revenue, to KES 154m (£1m/€1.2m), in its last fiscal year, and Safaricom has laid out ambitions to further scale up the business through its broader B2B platforms strategy (Vodafonewatch, #200).

Other platforms STE has indicated it will bring into its portfolio include: Vodacom Group’s Mezzanine (which offers networked digital solutions for businesses, including farmers) and CONNECTU (zero‑rated access to basic web content); Safaricom’s Eneza (learning); and Vodafone’s Connected Education (digital tools for schools). It is also expected to debut flagship fintech offering M‑PESA in 2022, following a long period of wrangling and uncertainty over whether it would be licensed to do so.