m birr

Mobile Money Sprout as Pandemic Surge

As covid19 restrict access to cash and financial institutions, number of mobile transaction users has grown by 13pct globally to over 1.2 billion in 2020, with over 300 million monthly active accounts, according to new report dubbed ‘State of the Industry Report of Mobile Money’, by Global System for Mobile Communication (GSMA). For the first time, the amount of remittance sent and received via mobile money has also surpassed USD1 billion, exponentially growing by 65pct.

Ethiopia, which was identified as one of Africa’s “sleeping mobile money giants” in GSMA 2018 ‘State of the Industry Report’, is no more exceptional now. Apart from the mushrooming mobile money companies and applications in Ethiopia, almost 40pct of the districts where the Productive SafetyNet Programs (PSNP) and CNV disbursements are active, USD150 million in transactions have been processed and one million households now have access to a mobile money account in Ethiopia (as of January 2020). PSNP aims to reduce household vulnerability, strengthen resilience to financial shocks and promote sustainable communities in food-insecure areas of rural Ethiopia, uses mobile money as one mechanism to disburse payments.

The report states ‘The two leading mobile money providers in Ethiopia – HelloCash and M-Birr – partner with a range of humanitarian organizations and government agencies to facilitate cash payments across the country. Humanitarian cash assistance payments were deposited into over one million M-BIRR mobile money accounts in 2020, 44pcct of which were held by women.’

Ashenafi Endale


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