Digital transactions surpass cash in Ethiopia for the first time

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Ethiopia is witnessing a significant surge in digital transactions, with more than 5 billion Ethiopian Birr (ETB) being transacted daily. Ethio-Telecom, the leading telecommunications provider, has emerged as a major player in this digital revolution, having facilitated over 1 trillion ETB in mobile money transactions.

With this rapid growth, Ethio-Telecom is swiftly transforming into the country’s largest financial institution, rivaling traditional banks in terms of transaction volume and influence. This shift towards digital payments marks a pivotal moment as it surpasses total cash transactions for the first time, significantly reducing the need for cash printing and engraving.

Ethiopia, which currently prints its currency overseas and imports it via air cargo, faces considerable costs and logistical challenges associated with cash handling. The transition to digital payments promises to alleviate these burdens, offering a more efficient and cost-effective alternative.

Conference discussing and tracking the digitalization of Ethiopia’s financial industry

Looking ahead, digitalization is poised to revolutionize Ethiopia’s financial sector in the coming years, ushering in a new era of accessibility and convenience for consumers and businesses alike. However, this transformative journey is not without its challenges.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed acknowledges the inherent risks of digitalization, particularly concerning cyber-attacks and fraud. He highlights the ongoing threat posed by thousands of attempted cyber-attacks targeting financial institutions, energy infrastructure, and government offices. Despite these challenges, Prime Minister Abiy emphasizes the need to strengthen defensive capabilities and adapt to the evolving landscape of digital finance. There is not alternative to going digital today.

As Ethiopia embraces the digital future, the nation must navigate these risks while harnessing the vast potential of digital payments to drive economic growth and financial inclusion for all citizens.

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