Mobile money accounts in Ethiopia have seen a significant increase, reaching close to 60 million subscribers, according to data released by the National Bank of Ethiopia. This figure represents more than a two-fold increase between December 2021 and 2022, indicating a sweeping trend in the country’s banking habits.
The substantial growth was unveiled in a snapshot of Ethiopia’s Financial Sector Indicators as of March 2023. As per the snapshot, Ethiopia has 22 million mobile banking users, 4.8 million internet banking users, and 35 million debit card holders.
In terms of payment system activity, the Ethiopian Automated Transfer System (EATS), which is used to transfer large funds between banks, facilitated 2.9 million transactions amounting to 3.6 trillion birr.
Meanwhile, digital financial services, which include mobile money, mobile banking, internet banking, and card banking, recorded 650 million transactions amounting to 2.8 trillion birr. This translates to an average transaction value of 4,307 birr per digital transaction.
Ethio Telecom, the state-owned telecommunications service provider, is a major contributor to the mobile money revolution. Its mobile money platform, telebirr, accounts for more than half of the country’s mobile money subscribers. In addition, the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia boasts nearly 8 million users.
Safaricom’s eminent mobile money service, M-Pesa, recently secured a license to extend its operations into Ethiopia. As one of Africa’s largest mobile money operators, M-Pesa boasts a user base of 52.4 million and is set to further expand with this development.
Kenya, a neighboring nation and a leading force in mobile money technology, recorded 73.72 million total registered mobile money accounts as of March 2023, as indicated by data from the Central Bank of Kenya.