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EthSwitch, Ethiopia’s national payment switch, has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mastercard, a global payment technology leader, in a bid to drive the digital transformation of the payments sector in Ethiopia. This partnership will enable financial institutions across the country to increase the adoption and usage of digital payments.

By leveraging Mastercard Send, a real-time payment platform that allows people and organizations to instantly send and receive money domestically and cross-border, EthSwitch aims to make digital money transfers more accessible and widely available. The advanced payment solution will deliver a simple and improved user experience, contributing to Ethiopia’s transition to a cash-lite economy.

Yilebes Addis, CEO at EthSwitch, stated that the partnership with Mastercard is a significant step towards the modernization of Ethiopia’s national payments system and enhancing financial inclusion in the country.

Under the terms of the MoU, EthSwitch will benefit from Mastercard’s technology, expertise, partnerships, and cyber intelligence solutions to expand its payment capabilities beyond person-to-person payments. Mastercard will also provide advisory and technical support to advance EthSwitch’s digital-first strategy, in accordance with local and global best practices.

The partnership is expected to enable digital remittances using Mastercard Send and Cross-Border Solutions, facilitating inward remittances to any wallet and customer account in an interoperable manner from over 100 markets. EthSwitch will also leverage Mastercard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS) in collaboration with MPGS-licensed banks in Ethiopia to enhance payment processing efficiency.

Furthermore, according to Abeneazer Wondwossen, Program Management Office Director at Ethswitch, the switch operator will have access to Mastercard Direct Service Access (DSA) to benefit from Mastercard’s safety and security measures, digital capabilities, loyalty and installment programs, and retail fraud prevention and tracing services without incurring significant development costs.

As part of the partnership, Mastercard will provide appropriate human resource training to EthSwitch, drawing on its extensive experience in the payment space. Additionally, EthSwitch will be able to leverage Mastercard Data and Services (D&S) to drive its business forward with market data, trends, and expertise, allowing for more informed decisions and improved performance.

The collaboration between Mastercard and EthSwitch will create numerous benefits for the Ethiopian financial ecosystem, localizing Mastercard’s solutions to address specific market needs and demonstrating a deep understanding of the dynamics of the Ethiopian banking ecosystem.

“Our partnership with EthSwitch supports our endeavor to facilitate digital remittances in this country, therefore bringing financial inclusion to the millions of Ethiopians who need it,” said Dimitrios Dosis, President of Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Mastercard.

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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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