April 20, 2014 15:51 UTC

Audio / Economics Report

Ethiopia Permits Mobile Banking and Money Services

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Ethiopia is one of the few remaining African countries to introduce mobile banking.Ethiopia is one of the few remaining African countries to introduce mobile banking.
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Ethiopia is one of the few remaining African countries to introduce mobile banking.
Ethiopia is one of the few remaining African countries to introduce mobile banking.

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From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report in Special English.
 
Ethiopia is one of the last countries in Africa to permit mobile banking.
 
Mobile banking has proved to be profitable in the developing world, where many people still do not use banks. Earlier this year, the World Bank reported that seventy-five percent of the world’s poor are “unbanked.” That is about two point five billion people. Banking through mobile telephones lets people take part in financial services even if they are not near a bank office.
 
In Africa, only Ethiopia and Zimbabwe do not provide mobile money services. Now, that will change for Ethiopia.
 
 BelCash and M-Birr are mobile banking technology providers. They have been setting up mobile banking and mobile money services in Ethiopia for the past three years.
 
Dutch company BelCash is working in partnership with banks to provide easier access to financing through bank accounts. Ireland-based M-Birr is a mobile money service that works with micro finance groups where no registration at a bank is needed.
 
Ethiopia’s mobile industry is young. And wireless service coverage in the country is not well developed. The pressure on the wireless network is expected to increase.
 
In the past four years, the number of mobile users grew from three to seventeen million. And Ethiopia’s telecommunications provider, Ethio Telecom, expects that number to grow to forty million in the next three years.
 
The government closely controls Ethiopia’s telecommunications market. That means there is only one provider. Competition is not permitted.
 
M-Birr General Manager Thierry Artaud says Ethiopia’s neighbors have several mobile providers.
 
"If you look at your neighbors, Kenya, Tanzania Uganda, they all have multiple mobile operators and they all have mobile money services and even multiple mobile money services.”
 
He says, if Ethiopia had no restrictions, his company would have to compete with larger companies.
 
Ethiopia has looked at other developing countries with mobile banking. National Bank of Ethiopia officials visited Kenya, Pakistan and Brazil.
 
Frezer Ayalew is with the National Bank of Ethiopia. He says mobile banking services will help the country.
 
“For the economy it has great contribution in terms of mobilizing domestic savings with these services.”
 
The National Bank of Ethiopia recently finished a draft order on how mobile banking services should be structured. This comes as more companies have shown interest in starting mobile banking services.
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by: Doogii
11/21/2012 2:57 PM
I wonder that there aren't any mobile banking service provider in Zimbabwe


by: Yang from: Canada
11/21/2012 2:35 PM
I'm sure Ethiopia will get more benefits from opening the mobile banking service both in economic and technology.Hi-tech can diminish the gap between the poor and the rich eventually.


by: Richard Cawley from: Harare
11/20/2012 10:19 AM
..."In Africa, only Ethiopia and Zimbabwe do not provide mobile money services"..

Where on earth did you get this? Zimbabwe does provide mobile money services already.

Poor journalism.


by: LeHa from: VietNam
11/20/2012 1:14 AM
I think that mobile banking is very useful in modern life. When you need transfer money or check your account how much money you have, you can stay at home and use the mobile banking service without going out. In addtion, you can monitor what your account chance. We know that how much benifits mobile banking and money service give us.


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
11/19/2012 3:54 PM
I am pleased to note that Ethopia has gone Hi-tech. Mobile banking offers mobile internet users a chance to try their hands at mobile banking. Mobile banking, indeed, is banking at doorsteps. Mobile banking is very helpful to people of villages. Thank you.


by: Nayef from: Kuwait
11/19/2012 4:58 AM
I think mobile banking services is very important since these days almost all people have mobile devices. However I believe we should focus on the infrastructure instead of the service itself for example If we don't have good internet connection , we won't be able to benefit from the services.


by: Shige from: Japan
11/19/2012 3:58 AM
I know first time that in Africa mobile banking is common. Indeed, mobile banking is so useful. But I think there are somethings which need more development except mobile banking. Just I think so.


by: Henry from: China
11/19/2012 3:04 AM
mobile banking is convenient in payment , but it seems not be used often.


by: neize from: Brazil
11/18/2012 10:23 PM
Could someone help me with my doubt?

Is there any difference between telephone cellular and mobile telephone?
thanks

In Response

by: Tom Kuo from: Taipei, Taiwan
11/20/2012 1:29 PM
Hello Neize,

I hope the following solving your doubt:

cell phone : a small telephone that people can take with them and use outside their homes (from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
**Cell is the short term for Cellular** (Tiny holes of a handset on your housing telephone are called "CELLS")

mobile telephone/phone (=cell phone)
**mobile (adj.) : able to be moved; movable


by: WK from: Kenya
11/18/2012 4:32 PM
Zimbabwe has mobile money services. Econet has Ecocash

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