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Enhancing national switch of Ethiopia

EthSwitch Share Company
Context

With a population of over 100 million, of whom approximately 78% are unbanked, this project aims to unlock financial inclusion by enabling the procurement and implementation of a national payment system. Building on the existing digital use cases that EthSwitch has enables, this initiative will facilitate the design and use of digital financial services (DFS) including e-commerce, transport payment systems, payment of utility bills and digital distribution of social benefits, pensions and other government payments.

Objectives

Invest in a critical platform that will ensure DFS interoperability for multiple services and use cases in Ethiopia, specifically

  • Enable introduction of core services to the ecosystem such as switching, monitoring, authentication, account verification, clearing, settlement, reconciliation and dispute management.
  • Facilitate improved infrastructure services, hosting, security and disaster recovery.
  • Enable bill payment, remittances, cash in/cash out, tax payment, ticket payment purchase, e-commerce and bulk payments, as well as new channels such as Wallet & QR payments.
  • Extend participation in the ecosystem to banks, microfinance institutions, insurance companies, third party service providers, business organisations, government and non-governmental organisations, and e-wallet providers, with telecommunications to be included once licensed by National Bank of Ethiopia.

Advance financial inclusion in Ethiopia though digital financial services

  • Extend digital financial services (DFS) to the rural ecosystems by opening trade opportunities in sectors such as SMEs, agriculture, energy and introducing DFS services and use cases including digital micro loans, savings and insurance in sectors such as agriculture, education, health, trade, transport and utilities.
  • Promote a pricing approach that works for unbanked populations.
  • Drive the gender agenda as part of revision of the financial inclusion strategy.
  • Create new employment opportunities within new service areas such as agency banking, merchant acceptance model and FinTechs/apps development for DFS.

Promote a share ownership approach as well as diversifying the membership to incorporate more DFS stakeholders which would include banks, microfinance institutions (MFIs) and any institution that is licensed by National Bank of Ethiopia for ownership and sustainability.

Outcomes

Existing and new diverse partners are connected to the national real time retail payment platform and can expand their digital financial services to include utility payments, pension schemes, transport and social payments.

Impact
  • Financial inclusion in Ethiopia increased from 22% in 2017 to 60% by 2025, where EthSwitch’s new projects compliment the national effort.
  • DFS use cases extended to excluded women and leverage the revision of the financial inclusion strategy to drive gender agenda/gender disaggregated data.
Payments (Interoperability)

ADFI Focus Areas

Payment Systems
Digital Infrastructure

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