New mobile money schemes extend banking reach in Ethiopia after NBE issues new guidelines

Efoé Koudadjey and John Owens

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After AFI member institution National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) finalized their guidelines on mobile and agent banking they continued to support the sector by encouraging the use of digital financial services by conducting a workshop in December 2014 entitled “How to Operationalize Digital Financial Service: Mobile and Agent Banking within the Ethiopian Context.”

The workshop brought together policymakers, financial institutions, government stakeholders and development partners to establish a shared understanding among stakeholders driving financial inclusion in Ethiopia. Moreover, the workshop was facilitated by international experts drawn from different parts of the world having specific subject matter expertise in demand, distribution, technology and regulatory aspect of digital financial services.

Around the same time, several Ethiopian banks and microfinance institutions launched mobile enabled e-money services in 2014, which are predicted to rapidly bring financial services to millions of Ethiopians in the next few years.

For updates on the progress in Ethiopia, click here.

Efoé Koudadjey is the Regional Coordinator of Sub-Saharan Africa/MENA at AFI. John Owens is the Senior Policy Advisor Digital Financial Services & FI Policies at AFI.

3 replies

  1. Dear colleagues, thank you very much for such updates!! I really would like to learn more…. I agree that such mobile money schemes can enhance access to banking services, and specifically facilitate mobilization of savings — which is a top priority for the government. But our recent research on saving mobilization highlights more challenges specially at the grass-root level. In rural communities like in Ethiopia, banking services depends very much on ”relationships” (between service provider and client!). Most of the community members are illiterate. Which means there need to be much awareness creation on the service, done repeatedly!! They often need someone who can clarify, and familiarize the technology. Companies need very effective manpower at the grass-root who can undertake such challenging tasks …. But our findings suggest that this is largely lacking. The communication between front-line staff and clients of many microfinance institutions is very lose. No real ‘marketing’ of saving products is being done — either because these officers do not have effective tools or materials to do the marketing, or because they are not motivated or incentivized to do so. So alongside (or before!!) the introduction of such technologies, I believe that establishing a strong, well oriented, and motivated staff at the grass-root is a priority. … A related paper is posted at —

    I look forward to hear more. Thanks and Regards. Getaneh (


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