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Ethiopia is launching mobile money services

12.02.2015

Ethiopian banks and micro-finance firms will soon be launching mobile money services.

Ethiopian banks and micro-finance firms will soon be launching mobile money services.

Two new players are starting operations in the country. Belcash, a company based in the Netherlands, is offering a technology called helloCash, while MOSS ICT, an Irish firm, is launching M-Birr.

As foreign firms and banks are not permitted to invest in the financial or telecommunications sectors in Ethiopia, the services will be offered through Ethiopian banks and institutions, which will collect the cash.

MOSS ICT’s deputy general manager Kidist Negeye declared recently to Reuters that “One of the things that the government wants to do is ensure there is financial inclusion.” M-Birr, which is designed to reach rural areas, should help achieve this objective.

These mobile services, which should attract new depositors, will also help mobilise domestic saving, another government priority. According to BelCash chief executive Vince Diop, helloCash “could have two to three million users this year and ten million by 2017 or 2018.”

Two of Ethiopia’s private banks and a microfinance firm have already signed up to BelCash’s service, and two other institutions are due to apply for central bank approval soon.