ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia and MasterCard signed on Thursday a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to create and implement digital solutions to drive financial inclusion, support small businesses and enhance digital transformation readiness in the country.
The ‘s Ministry of Innovation & Technology (MIT) and MasterCard – leading global technology company – will be partnering to develop and implement strategic solutions and policies pertinent to delivering a digitized economy in Ethiopia.
The agreement is part of the overall effort by the Government to leverage existing technology and digital assists and services to assist its digital transformation agenda, the MIT said in a statement issued after the signing of the agreement.
Under the agreement, MasterCard will apply its insights and experience from working with governments around the world in supporting Ethiopia to achieve its digital transformation objectives.
These activities will directly support efforts towards driving financial inclusion, creating safe and accessible digitized payment solutions for small businesses and implementing digital identity projects.
Raghav Prasad, Division President of MasterCard Africa, said the company is committed to connecting and empowering an inclusive, digital economy “that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible”.
“Building on our long-standing partnership with the Ethiopian government, we are excited to be partnering with this innovative team to meet the goals set in the Digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy,” Prasad said.
MasterCard officials see the new partnership would expedite their global commitment to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.
Dr. Ahmedin Mohammed, State Minister of Innovation and Technology, said the new agreement would increase Ethiopian enterprises’ use of digital payment products.
“We are certain this agreement will enable micro and small merchants access to digital payment products so they are connected with the rest of the world and receive payment digitally,” said Dr. Ahmedin.
“Our efforts under this cooperation will relieve Ethiopia of the cost of cash and help us formalize the shadow economy,” the state Minister added.
The east African nation has an ambitious Digital Transformation Strategy, which was endorsed by the Council of Ministers in June 2020.
“Such cooperation with experienced and leading global companies like MasterCard will ensure we strengthen existing infrastructure, develop enabling systems and facilitate digital interactions between government, the private sector and our citizens,” Dr. Ahmedin.
Ethiopia’s three-year strategy lays out infrastructure to enable users to make financial transactions using the accounts and payment instruments issued by financial institutions.