Yilebes Addis, Chief Executive Officer of EthSwitch, and Dimitrios Dosis, President for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Mastercard signing an MoU in Addis Ababa.
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EthSwitch Partners Mastercard to Drive Payment Sector’s Digital Transformation

Ethiopia’s national payment switch, EthSwitch, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mastercard that will enable financial institutions across Ethiopia to boost the adoption and usage of digital payments.

The agreement will enable EthSwitch to leverage Mastercard’s global network and digital payments capabilities to allow fast and secure transfer of funds domestically and cross-border.

The two institutions say the advanced payment solution will deliver a simple and better user experience that will contribute towards the acceleration of Ethiopia’s transition to a cash-lite economy.

EthSwitch: ‘Significant step towards a modernized payment system

“Ethiopia is quickly moving into the digital economy and EthSwitch is striving to achieve its strategic goals, which substantially contributes to the success of Digital Ethiopia 2025, National Digital Payments Strategy, and National Financial Inclusion Strategies,” said Yilebes Addis, CEO of EthSwitch.

Ethswitch – a share company fully owned by banks in Ethiopia – was set up to provide affordable, secured, and efficient e-payment infrastructure services to retail payment service providers, and through them, to end users in the country.

“It is critical,” the CEO noted, “that we advance Ethiopia’s financial system to support the economy with an improved flow of remittances in the country.”

“Our partnership with Mastercard is a significant step as we embrace the continued modernization of the national payments system and enhance financial inclusion in the country,” the CEO added.

“facilitates digital remittances”

The partnership will enable the transfer of funds through a mobile phone application thus pushing brick-and-mortar transfers out as consumers look for more convenient and contactless transfer options.

The two entities say customers will enjoy instant payout capabilities and secure transactions as they will be enabled to send and receive funds at any moment with the support of the partnership.

Mastercard will also provide advisory and technical support to advance EthSwitch’s digital-first strategy as per local and global best practices.

Under the terms of the MoU, EthSwitch will leverage Mastercard’s technology, expertise, partnerships, and cyber intelligence solutions to diversify its payment capability beyond person-to-person payments.

“Our partnership with EthSwitch supports our endeavor to facilitate digital remittances in this country, therefore bringing financial inclusion to the millions of Ethiopians who need it,” said Dimitrios Dosis, President of Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Mastercard.

Their Second Partnership in six months

This is the second partnership that Mastercard and EthSwitch forged in the last six months.

In November last year, the two institutions along with Oromia Bank announced a partnership that saw all the bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country accept Mastercard debit, credit, and prepaid cards – the first bank to offer such a service.

EthSwitch officials believe the partnership would give a boost to efforts to modernize the national payments system and enhance financial inclusion in the country.

ATM usage has increased rapidly in Ethiopia since its deployment in 2001. In the 2021/22 fiscal year, the banking industry processed a total of over a total of 171 million ATM transactions, of which 40 million were interoperable transactions facilitated by EthSwitch.

“Ethiopia is becoming one of the digitally connected countries in East Africa and cross-border payments have transformed the payments landscape in this market,” Dimitrios said. “We have been operating in this country for 14 years now and are excited to be part of this journey.”

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