Safaricom Ethiopia has activated its network and services in Hawassa, Assela, Jigjiga, Sodo and Dilla, bringing its network coverage to 21 cities.

New customers can now buy SIM cards for 30 birr ($0.56), select their preferred numbers, buy airtime and access customer service at Safaricom Ethiopia shops in these cities.

Upon its launch in October 2022, Safaricom Ethiopia said it had generated 42.76 million birr ($797.565 million) in revenue in November.

This is what I have for you today:

  • Nigerians could stop using USSD for transactions
  • Kenya will provide 5,000 government services in the country

Nigerians could stop using USSD for transactions

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has announced that, as of November 2022, banks owe telcos ₦80 billion ($179.1 million) in ancillary service data fees. unstructured (USSD).

Consequently, if Nigerian banks fail to pay off these debts, telcos could withdraw USSD services.

Banks use USSD to provide financial services to everyone, especially the underserved and financially excluded without internet data connectivity.

Slightly long backstory; In 2019, telecommunication companies informed banks that they would no longer provide USSD services for free and wanted to collect ₦4.50k for 20 seconds from charges paid by customers.

Banks disagreed, and thus the long fight began.

Debt to telecom companies increased to ₦42 billion ($94.03 million) in March 2021 and they threatened to suspend USSD services.

Communications and Digital Economy Minister Isa Pantami wrote to CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele to instruct banks to pay off their debt. She also called on the telecommunications companies to suspend their decision to withdraw their services.

This led to a roundtable where the banks agreed to lower the USSD fees per transaction to ₦6.08, which will be paid to the telcos but collected by the banks.

It seems that nothing has changed since then.

Adebayo said the banks’ refusal to pay would threaten the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) cashless economy agenda for the country and hurt the economy.

Kenya will provide 5,000 government services in the country

Kenya plans to provide 5,000 government services through technology platforms over the next six months.

It recently launched free Wi-Fi at the Ahero market in Kisumu County to discourage people from traveling long distances to seek services at government offices.

The Ahero market is the second in the Nyanza region, after Bondo, where the government has launched free Wi-Fi to help traders sell and buy their wares online.

According to ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo, long queues at the country’s government offices will be “a thing of the past” once the services are rolled out.

But he said the first step to achieving that is to provide Internet access to the entire country, a foundation for government services.

The Kenyan government intends to make the country a “technology hotspot” and will continue to expand Internet access points throughout the country.

According to Owalo, the adoption of the Internet in public institutions such as schools, markets, hospitals and police stations will allow young people to take advantage of technology to create jobs for themselves.

According to DataReportal’s Digital 2022 report, the internet penetration rate in Kenya was 42% in January 2022.

What I’m reading and watching


  • Misk Entrepreneurship partnered with Plug and Play to launch the fourth cohort of Misk Accelerator 2023, where 20 startups will participate in the 12-week hybrid program. Apply here.
  • The New York Times is looking for a Researcher/Reporter in Dakar, Senegal. Apply here.
  • Are you a member of the corps in Nigeria? Polaris Bank’s DigiCorper 2023 program is open. To learn data science, product management, product design, backend or frontend software development, or basic literacy skills, sign up here.
  • The Eswatini Communications Commission (ESCCOM) has initiated a Girls in ICT Development Programme, aimed at young women interested in pursuing a profession related to Information, Communications and Technology (ICT). To apply, check this out.
  • The United Nations is seeking an Associate Program Management Officer. Apply here.

Have a great Thursday.

victoria fakiya for Techpoint Africa.