Ethiopia, one of the fastest growing economies, is pushing a new electronic payment service called M-Birr, or “mobile-money.”
The mobile-based payment system is expected to rope in millions of the unbanked population into the banking and financial systems.
More effective and less restrictive, operators say the mobile payment system is also safer than old payment systems.
“M-Birr is perfect for our work because it makes life more simple and more secure. I prefer to use this service rather than make transactions in cash, and it is even reliable,” a client told AFP.
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The M-Birr operates on the same system as M-Pesa which has already proven its worth in Kenya.
“The service is easily accessible. You can find it anywhere and at any time. It is much more convenient than banks which are in specific locations and only operate under a fixed schedule. I’m really happy to have this service,” said Adane Hirpo, Birr’s local manager.
The mobile money follows in the footsteps of neighbouring Kenya’s M-Pesa service which is run by British telecom giant Vodafone’s subsidiary Safaricom. The service has become a leading force in the financial sector.
Africa’s populous country is now experiencing strong economic growth, which the IMF and World Bank estimate to be nearly at 10 percent annually over the past decade