Ethiopian banks to offer mobile money services

Ethiopian banks and microfinance firms are introducing mobile money services to reach out to consumers with little access to branches.

Ethiopian banks to offer mobile money services

The services will enable customers to make payments or receive money through a mobile linked to a bank account, reports Reuters.

The country’s banks and institutions will offer the helloCash technology launched by Netherlands-based BelCash and M-Birr launched by MOSS ICT, mainly owned by an Ireland-based firm.

The country’s banks and institutions will deliver the service to customers and hold the cash deposited in both cases, in line with government policy.

Highlighting that M-Birr would improve accessibility to rural areas, MOSS ICT deputy general manager Kidist Negeye said, “One of the things that the government wants to do is ensure there is financial inclusion. Another aspect is the mobilization of domestic savings. The government wants to increase the number of deposits.”

The central bank has already given the go-ahead for the roll out of M-Birr.

The M-Birr service will be offered by five micro finance firms of Ethiopia in December, while two Ethiopian private lenders Lion International Bank and Cooperative Bank of Oromia, as well as a microfinance firm, will offer helloCash.

BelCash chief executive Vince Diop said that the firm would receive a fee for each transaction made. Diop added that commercial services are scheduled to commence in around two months.

Banks are also planning to authorise agents, including shops or merchants, for taking deposits and handing out cash through the mobile system.