Ethiopia Backs Mobile Players for Financial Inclusion

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two mobile money platforms have launched in Ethiopia, as the country looks to improve the take-up of bank services.

Dutch firm BelCash and Ireland’s Moss ICT are providing the infrastructure over which local banks and financial institutions are providing deposit, withdrawal, transfer and payment services via mobile device.

BelCash’s Hellocash service launched as a pilot in January 2015. And will launch commercially when it receives approval from the National Bank of Ethiopia. The hope is to receive permission in between three and six months’ time, the firm told Mobile World Live. Over 10,000 users expected to be active during the pilot phase

And BelCash could have 10 million customers by 2017 or 2018, the firm’s chief executive Vince Diop bullishly told Reuters. It would receive a fee for each transaction made.

Customers of Lion International Bank and Somali Micro Finance are to offer HelloCash to their account holders, said BelCash.

Diop also said the Cooperative Bank of Oromia was signed up. The country has a total of sixteen privately owned banks. Two more are in the Hellocash camp but have yet to make an application to the country’s central bank.

Meanwhile rival Moss ICT’s m-Birr service, which was approved by the country’s central bank in December, will be offered by five microfinance firms. It already has 5,000 to 6,000 users and expects to add 13,000 in February.

Source: Mobile World Live (link opens in a new window)

financial inclusion