Fast-tracking the digital transformation of the payments sector in Ethiopia

July 31, 2023 | By Dimitrios Dosis
Ethiopia made an exceptional impression on me when I visited earlier this year. With about 117 million people, Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa – and it is fast embracing the digital economy. The energy, rigor, and passion for growth have well positioned the country to adapt to digital transformation, driven by the Digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy, National Digital Payments Strategy and National Financial Inclusion Strategies.

Connecting consumers to more possibilities in the digital economy is crucial for financial inclusion, and to accelerate Ethiopia’s digital transformation, we at Mastercard partnered with EthSwitch, Ethiopia’s national payment switch, to enable financial institutions across the country to boost the adoption of digital payments. By leveraging our product, Mastercard Send, a payments platform that allows people and organizations to send and receive money instantly, domestically and cross-border, EthSwitch is making digital money transfers more widely available and accessible.

The advanced payment solution will deliver a simpler and better user experience, streamline the flow of remittances across Ethiopia and enhance financial inclusion in the country. People can enjoy instant payout capabilities, secure transactions and the ability to send and receive funds from anywhere, anytime. 

As part of our focus on localizing solutions to address specific market needs, we now enable transfer of funds through a mobile application, thus pushing brick-and-mortar transfers out as consumers look for more convenient and contactless transfer options. Additionally, we provide advisory and technical support to advance EthSwitch’s digital-first strategy in accordance with local and global best practices. We are extending our technology, expertise, and cyber intelligence solutions to diversify their offerings beyond person-to-person payments.

In line with our guiding principle of powering economies and empowering people, the partnership has the potential to bring millions of unbanked Ethiopians into the country’s growing digital economy. This is just one example of the many ways in which Mastercard is fostering financial inclusion in Africa – a continent with enormous potential – and helping to forge a brighter future for its population. I really can’t wait to see what the future brings, and to be back in the country again soon to witness the next steps in this transformation.

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Dimitrios Dosis, President, Eastern Europe Middle East and Africa, Mastercard