EthSwitch, Oromia, Mastercard To Modernize Ethiopia’s Payments Ecosystem

by Business Watch Team
Mobile Loan

EthSwitch, Ethiopia’s national payment switch, Oromia Bank, and Mastercard today announced a landmark partnership that sees all the bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country accept Mastercard debit, credit, and prepaid cards.

Today, tourists and local citizens carrying Mastercard payment cards can withdraw local currency from Oromia Bank ATMs processed by the EthSwitch network.

“Oromia Bank is the first bank to accept Mastercard payment cards using EthSwitch as the payments processor – a milestone we are extremely proud of,” says Yilebes Addis, Chief Executive Officer at EthSwitch. “The mandate of EthSwitch is to contribute to the modernization of the national payments system and enhance financial inclusion in the country. Through this partnership, we are progressing toward this goal by enabling interoperability of ATMs and making it easier for people to transact.”

ATM usage has increased rapidly in Ethiopia since its deployment in 2001. By the end of the 2020/2021 fiscal year, Ethiopia’s banking industry had processed a total of over 225 million ATM transactions, of which 38,302,370 were interbank transactions facilitated by EthSwitch.

Since its inception in 2008, Oromia Bank has made significant contributions to Ethiopia’s banking industry, having pioneered new banking practices including interest-free banking services. With more than 400 branches nationwide, the bank aims to further modernize the sector through new technology adoption and partnerships.

“Ethiopia has witnessed a significant shift in the growth of electronic payments over the last few years and the bank has played a significant role in pioneering new banking practices,” says Teferi Mekonnen, President of Oromia Bank.” We remain committed to developing appropriate payment channels to provide people with more convenient, secure, and reliable ways to access funds in the country. This partnership with EthSwitch and Mastercard is the latest example of how we continue to collaborate on this journey.”

According to Shehryar Ali, Country Manager for East Africa, Mastercard, the collaboration marks the beginning of a productive journey with EthSwitch and its member banks, as part of its commitment to support Ethiopia achieve its digital transformation objectives. This further supports Mastercard’s goal of including 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses in the digital economy by 2025.

“Ethiopians are increasingly seeking safe, seamless, and consistent digital experiences. Backed by the speed and security of Mastercard’s global network, we are pleased to partner with and EthSwitch and Oromia Bank to lead the transition to digital while supporting Digital Ethiopia 2025 vision to modernize the payment system. Importantly, we are also contributing to the financial freedom of Ethiopia’s citizens, and anyone visiting the country for work or leisure. Together, we can connect more people to the global digital economy while laying the groundwork for future innovation,” says Ali.

In the next phase, Oromia Bank will collaborate with EthSwitch and Mastercard to enable people to pay for goods and services with their Mastercard payment cards at Point of Sale.

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