• 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.