Ideas & Updates

Ethiopia scales up mobile and other digital finance services

Better Than Cash Alliance discusses digital financial strategy with government

Ethiopia scales up mobile and other digital finance services
Ethiopia will be developing its mobile and other digital financial services, Debretsion Gebremichael, Minister of Communication Information Technology and Finance and Economy Cluster Head with the rank of Deputy Prime Minister said following the inaugural Ethiopia Mobile Financial Services Conference held in in Addis Ababa on 13 February. The conference,” Catalyzing Transformation through Technology: How Mobile Financial Services Contributes to the Growth of Ethiopia“, explored how mobile and other digital services can help develop the country’s financial sector.

Better Than Cash Alliance’s Technical Assistance Facility Manager, Chris Dooley presented the opening speech to 10 ministers and around 180 delegates on the framing and strategic considerations required for Ethiopia to develop a vibrant ecosystem for digital financial services.

The conference went on to discuss more specific considerations on technology, delivery channels including, agent, mobile phones and cards, prioritising clients in product design and case studies from other leading countries. Discussions of pilot studies and lessons learned from the Ethiopian context concluded the conference.

A closed-door meeting attended by Better Than Cash Alliance/UNCDF was held after the conference to discuss the conference proceedings and the implications for Ethiopia. Decision makers from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministries of Communication Information Technology, Finance and Economics, and Agriculture, and the National Bank of Ethiopia explored digital financial services in the Ethiopian context at length.

Mr Dooley who joined the closed door sessions, said the meeting was a resounding success: “The discussions were very results oriented,” he said. “A number of concrete outputs were defined in this session. The Better Than Cash Alliance is very encouraged by the enthusiasm and professional approach of all the government representatives involved. UNCDF would be delighted to contribute to any forthcoming work plans as well as participating in any national technical working group.”

Representatives from Better Than Cash Alliance funder Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tadesse Haddis and David Lubinski, and Bankable Frontier Associates’ David Porteous presented at the conference along with many other high level speakers.