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Shega partnered with the 4th edition of Africa Fintech Summit to bring you a series of articles about the summit and partners supporting the summit.

In our “5 Questions” series, we ask partners in the AFTS ecosystem to share about their work and unique perspective on fintech. This “5 Questions” interview is with MOSS ICT, whose mobile money service M-BIRR is a sponsor of the AFTS Addis Ababa event.

Briefly, what is the focus and scope of MOSS ICT’s work?

MOSS ICT is the technology provider behind M-BIRR, Ethiopia’s first mobile money service. Besides technology, MOSS ICT also provides other services to support M-BIRR, including customer service, marketing, network management, and more.

Tell us about your mobile wallet platform, M-BIRR. When did it launch and what specific market needs were you addressing? 

M-BIRR is Ethiopia’s first mobile money service, launching in 2015.  Currently, over 1.5 million customers use M-BIRR to send and receive money, buy airtime, pay bills, buy goods, and receive social payments.  M-BIRR helps fill a market gap in Ethiopia, which has a low rate of financial inclusion and a large (80%) rural population. In partnership with 6 leading microfinance institutions, the M-BIRR mobile and agent banking service enables rural and low-income Ethiopians to gain access to financial services using their mobile phone.

What do you think has helped M-BIRR grow into one of the leading platforms? What have been the key components of its success? 

Besides a solid, user-friendly technology platform, M-BIRR has grown thanks to sustained investment in building a large agent network in partnership with 6 leading microfinance institutions.  Currently, there are over 11,000 branches and agents in the M-BIRR network, which help to register and provide service to M-BIRR customers throughout Ethiopia, in both urban and rural areas. MOSS ICT and its MFI partners have also invested heavily in educating the public about mobile and agent banking, through nationwide advertising and on-the-ground roadshow campaigns.

What are some developments in fintech that you are excited to apply to the area of mobile money? 

In Ethiopia, we are seeing new technology companies launch in the areas of ride-sharing, e-commerce, and other fields that will benefit from digital payment services like M-BIRR.  The Ethiopian government is also encouraging the adoption of digital payments for utility bills, taxes, and other public services. We are excited by this growing ecosystem of services that will benefit by integrating with M-BIRR and help to increase the adoption of mobile money services in Ethiopia.

Why are you excited to partner with Africa Fintech Summit in Addis Ababa? 

It is important to have forums like the Africa Fintech Summit to bring together key players from across the fintech ecosystem.  MOSS ICT is excited to participate in the Summit and meet with potential partners and policymakers from Ethiopia and other parts of Africa.

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Anteneh Tesfaye, Founder and CEO of Shega, is interested in innovation and startup ecosystems across emerging markets.

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