The Ethiopian mobile money market is shared between the M-Pesa services of Safaricom and Telebirr of the historic operator Ethio Telecom. Launched in May 2021, this latest platform had, as of June 30, 2023, 34.3 million users.
The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) on Monday (October 9) issued a new directive on the issuance of payment instruments for mobile money providers in the country. The measure aims to promote security, stimulate competition and innovation among Ethiopia’s different mobile money service providers.
The new directive increases the daily electronic account balance limit from 30,000 birr ($539) to 75,000 birr ($1,347) and introduces a new daily aggregate transaction limit of 150,000 birr ($2,695). Exempt from transaction limits are utilities, taxes, airline tickets, fuel and mass payments. In addition, the directive allows banks to establish subsidiaries specializing in the provision of mobile money services.
According to the NBE, the revision of the directive is part of its ongoing efforts to modernize the financial sector in line with the National Digital Payment Strategy (2021-2024). The central bank recently amended the payments law to allow foreign investors to offer mobile money services in the Ethiopian telecoms market. This allowed Safaricom to launch its M-Pesa digital payment service in Ethiopia to compete with incumbent operator Ethio Telecom’s Telebirr service. Launched in May 2021, the Telebirr platform had, as of June 30, 2023, 34.3 million users.
“ The National Bank of Ethiopia will continue to take important steps to build a modern, secure, inclusive and competitive digital payments ecosystem. The ultimate goal is to create a stable financial system that allows every citizen access to a diverse range of financial services which, in turn, help propel economic growth and widespread improvement in living standards,” can – we read in the press release.