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REOI: EthSwitch Scheme Expert



Enhancing the National Payments System of Ethiopia

Financing Agreement reference: 5120155000001

Project ID No.: P-ET-H00-004

The EthSwitch S.C, the national switch of Ethiopia, has received financing from the African Development Bank, ADFI Facility toward the cost of the Enhancing the National Payments System of Ethiopia, and intends to apply part of the agreed amount for this grant to payments under the contract for individual scheme experts.

The services included under this project are development of contactless card scheme specification and interoperable QR scheme as well as support its implementation.

EthSwitch S.C. now invites eligible individual consultants to indicate their interest in providing these services. Interested consultants must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services (description of similar assignments, Cover Letter, C.V., and any other relevant document you deem necessary to support your application).

Eligibility criteria, establishment of the short-list and the selection procedure shall be in accordance with the African Development Bank’s “Rules and Procedures for the use of Consultants”, which is available on the Bank’s website at

Interested individual consultants may obtain further information at the address below during office hours 8:00AM – 5PM EAT.

Expressions of interest must be sent to [email protected] by Feb 14th, 2022 at 11:59 PM East African Time (EAT), to with the subject line “Application for EthSwitch Scheme Expert (Individual Consultant)”.

Job Description for Scheme Expert

Program: Recruitment of Scheme Expert for RTRP Project

Partners: EthSwitch and Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI)

Location of assignment: Onsite and Offsite

Regions to be covered: Ethiopia

Expert profile: Individual Consultant

Skills required: Domestic & International Payment Scheme Expertise; Strong Knowledge & Hands-on Experience on different Payment Methods and Payment Instruments and Schemes

Expected start date: As soon as possible

Expected duration: 12-months


About EthSwitch

EthSwitch, established in 2011, is a share company fully owned by all banks in Ethiopia. It is established mainly to provide simple, affordable, secured, and efficient e-payment infrastructure services to retail payment service providers, and through them, to end users in Ethiopia; by deploying state-of-the-art technology along with highly skilled and motivated professionals. The underling mandate of EthSwitch is contributing to the modernization of the national payments system and enhancement of financial inclusion in the country. Since 2016, it has enabled interoperability of ATMs and POS terminals operated by all banks. Currently, it is also rolling out projects to achieve interoperability of other digital payment platforms operated by all financial service providers.

EthSwitch is the owner of Ethiopay-Ethiopia’s domestic Card Scheme. Ethiopay is developed for all banks in Ethiopia to issue and acquire payment cards. Ethiopay is a four-party scheme, in which the issuer and acquirer are different entities, and is open for all payment institutions to join and issue their own cards. There are no limitations as to who may join the scheme, as long as the requirements of the scheme are met.

Ethiopay Card schemes enables a simplified and guaranteed exchange of money between merchants, customers and their banks, by operating national & international networks and setting uniform standards. More specifically, Ethiopay defines rules for the routing of payment authorizations and settlement requests in point-of-sale and e-commerce transactions between merchant acquirers and card issuers, as well as ATM withdrawals or purchases with cashback transactions.

About the program

With support from the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion (ADFI) Facility, EthSwitch is looking to scale up delivery of digital products such as Shared Wallet and Digital Channels in Ethiopia, with a specific focus on reaching unbanked and underserved population who are living especially in rural areas where the required infrastructures are not available for accessing formal financial services and products via financial institutions’ branches.

The principal objectives of the program is to invest in critical platforms that will ensure Digital Financial Services interoperability for multiple services and use in Ethiopia. The Project will comprise inception documentation project conceptualization, planning following which Platform acquisition, infrastructure detailed scoping (including payment schemes rules) and Deployment phase will continue. The business development and the operational phases are also part of the program. The components of the program under which this consulting service is being sought is the capacity development aspect which also covers exchange visits with other countries where similar projects have been undertaken, initiation of staff hiring as well as hiring of relevant expertise.

Scope of this assignment

The scope of the assignment covers developing specifications, rules and assist in the implementation of contactless card scheme and interoperable QR scheme. 

  1. Interoperable QR Scheme (Ethiopay QR)
  • 1.1 Develop interoperable QR specification based on EMV QR specification
  • 1.2 Develop EthioQR scheme rule for participants
  • 1.3 All the necessary specification for merchants, acquirers and issuers that are necessary to launch an interoperable QR Scheme
  1. Ethiopay Contactless Cards Scheme
  • 2.1 Provide trainings to EthSwitch’s technical teams acquire the necessary skills for activities required relating to deploying a payment scheme in the following areas:
  • Deployment of EMV specification for contact and/or contactless cards(level 2 and level 3)
  • Deployments of EMV specification for contactless terminals (level 2 and level 3)
  • Certification process for level 3 card and terminal deployments.
  • 2.2 In collaboration with EthSwitch’s technical teams, select the appropriate contactless scheme specification. Based on the selected specification (standard), define Ethiopay's dual interface (card) product portfolio.
  •  2.2.1 Ethiopay’s contactless product portfolio definition

Such definition can include but is not limited to:

  • Type of card products/programs (debit, prepaid, credit).
  • Ethiopay only or Co-branded with other brand’s application.
  • Additional use cases such as data storage. Etc
  • 2.2.2 Ethiopay’s level 3 specification

During the deployment of a contactless EMV solution, level 3 (L3) specifications for cards and terminals to fulfill Ethiopay’s technical, functional and business requirements for their product portfolio will need to be generated.

The consultant should cover these parts offering the below services and deliverables:

  • Definition of new and update of current (contact only) EMV card profiles L3, with contactless functionality.
  • Definition of new L3 specification for the terminals relating to contactless payment
  • Update of specification for the authorization host in connection with contactless payment


  • 2.3 Certification process definition

The consultant will support EthSwitch to define its’ own Ethiopay certification process for the L3 specification defined as described above, in order to allow but also verify that the implementations from several stakeholders of the Ethiopay program (Issuers, Acquirers, personalizers, etc) are under the standards that have been defined.

Such certification process includes but is not limited to:

  • Guides and Processes.
  • Ethiopay Documentation and certification forms (Ethiopay CPV, …)
  • L3 test plan covering the personalization of contact and contactless cards
  • L3 test plan covering contactless payment terminals
  • L3 test plan covering authorization hosts
  • Tools
  1. Program Management for the deployment of the schemes

As part of this service the consultant shall provide the management and macro planning of the deployment program of the various technological bricks relating to the migration to contactless card payment (cards, terminals, hosts, etc) as well as launching of the QR scheme.

Expected Deliverables

Complete set of documentation for implementation of contactless card scheme, interoperable QR scheme and implementation support as detailed above.

Criteria and Selection Process

  • Applications must be from an individual Consultant. Agencies will not be considered.
  • The Consultant must be a national of African Development Bank (AfDB) member countries and can be based anywhere. The full list of eligible regional and non-regional member countries can be found here.
  • This role is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • The expert must have a university degree (Bachelors or Masters) in a relevant field such as Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information and Communication Technology or related field and must be proficient in English.
  • The expert must have at least 8 years of experience working on similar engagements such as domestic and international payment scheme development preferably with payment networks, vendors and should have practical implementation experience.
  • Experience working within the payments space with strong knowledge global payment schemes, domestic schemes and standards such as EMV Contact/Contactless/QR, SWIFT.
  • A track record of successful delivery of various payment scheme projects and initiatives and bringing these to market.

A review team consisting of EthSwitch S.C. will evaluate and score all applications based on the following considerations and weighting:

Selection criterion


Academic and professional qualifications - 15%

Subject-matter experience - 15%

Quality of firm's comprehension of the assignment - 20%

Hands on experience on similar assignment - 25%

Proposed methodology or approach - 25%



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