Ethiopia Banks on Mobile Money for Financial Growth
Outside a small store on a dirt track in the remote Ethiopian town of Doni, long queues wait for government cash handouts by the most modern of methods: mobile phone.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country and one of its fastest growing economies, is pushing a new electronic payment service by phone — called M-Birr, or “mobile-money” — in a bid to bring millions into the banking system and financial services.
Here in Doni, a remote town of some 5,000 people, 130 kilometres (85 miles) southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, signs displayed for M-Birr testify to the popularity of this new service.
Government “safety net” social security payments to some of the poorest people are now transferred with a few key strokes.