Ethiopia’s digital payment ecosystem has facilitated transfers of over 1.2 trillion birr (equivalent to 22 billion dollars) in the past nine months. This represents a significant increase of 169 percent compared to the same period in the 2014 fiscal year, which saw 454.31 billion birr in digital money transfers.
These findings were presented by Fitsum Assefa, (PhD) the Minister of Planning and Development, during a government presentation on the country’s nine-month performance for fiscal year 2015. The ministry is responsible for preparing and coordinating national development plans in the medium and long term, along with conducting regular evaluations and monitoring of these plans.
The emphasis on digital finance is part of Ethiopia’s broader strategy to create a more inclusive economy.
According to the National bank of Ethiopia, the digital payment system currently serves 60 million mobile money users, 22 million mobile banking users, 4.8 million internet banking users, and 35 million debit card holders.
As part of the move towards cashless transactions, gas stations in Ethiopia have been mandated to accept digital payments. Additionally, the Ethiopian Electricity Utility (EEU) recently announced that residents of Addis Ababa would be required to pay their electricity bills digitally, starting this month, with nationwide implementation planned for July. The Finance Ministry is also considering utilizing Telebirr for the payment of public employees’ salaries.