The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has introduced a new guideline to license companies to provide electronic payment services outside of banks and financial institutions aiming at expanding electronic payment culture in the country.
Once licensed non-bank companies are allowed to provide ATM, POS, Switch Operation, and Gateway Operation services which have currently been limited to banks and financial institutions.
The directive allows companies that had been partnering up with banks or microfinance institutions, to provide the retail services by themselves.
In Ethiopia 19 banks, 38 microfinance institutions, and thousands of Saving and Credit Cooperatives have only been providing financial services. Sometimes they partner up with local Private companies that are mostly mobile money providers.
A world bank study in 2017 showed only 26 percent of the adult population of Ethiopia have contact with conventional monetary institutions. The NBE has been implementing the financial inclusion strategy since 2014 that aimed at attracting this wider population to modern services, according to the goal set on the strategy the number should increase to 60 percent by 2020.
The bank has also restricted the amount of money to be deposited outside of conventional institutions to 1.5 million birr which has also according to the press release of governor Yinager Dessie, has the aim of preventing crime financing.