Eth-Switch S.C, a consortium of all banks established to integrate the national electronic payment system, has welcomed Yilebes Addis, former Chief Information Officer of Kifiya Financial Technology, as its new CEO starting December 3, 2018.

The board of directors of the company chaired by Tiruneh Mitafa, vice governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, assigned Yilebes to be head of the company with a letter issued on November 14, 2018.

The 40-year-old father of three has obtained both his first and second degrees in computer science from Addis Abeba University (AAU). He started his career as a lecturer and worked at CPU Computer Center, MicroLink Information Technology College, Unity University, AAU and HiLCoE School of Computer Science & Technology.

In 2004, he then joined Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), where he worked in a variety of roles, starting as a database administrator and rising to manager of ICT Project Training and Rollout. His latest duty was at Kifiya, where he has been an adviser since the inception of the company, as well as Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer for the past eight years.

Yilebes has assumed the new position following the resignation of the founding CEO of the company, Bizuneh Bekele last June. Following Bizuneh’s resignation, the board assigned Biniam Tsegaye, a chief operating officer of the company as an acting CEO.

Bizunhe, who holds a master’s degree in computer science & software from Shanghai University and a first degree in management from the AAU, joined the company during its formation, moving from his own business where had been working as a business consultant.

“I want to take a rest,” Bizuneh told Fortune, explaining the reason behind his resignation in June. “I have been working for the past seven years and three months tirelessly.”

Established with 80 million Br in registered capital seven years ago and operationalised in 2015, Eth-Switch has recorded six billion Birr worth of transactions among the banks during the past fiscal year, a large increase from the previous year. In May 2016, the company launched the belated national e-payment switch, Ethio-Pay, that automates Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sale (POS) terminals.

The system enables all cardholders to use any ATM and PoS terminals, irrespective of the bank, for a five Birr service fee for every 1,000 Br worth of withdrawals. In the country, there are a total of 2,673 operational ATMs and 8,760 Point of Sale (PoS) terminals owned by both the state and private banks.

Creating a cashless society and financial inclusion will be the major areas he wants to focus on during his tenure at Eth-Switch, according to Yilebes.

“I will be focusing on creating a seamless electronic transaction,” Yilebes said, “and minimising the costs incurred to import these terminals in foreign currency.”

He believes that other than having multiple terminals situated in a single location, integrating the system of the banks and using a single terminal at a specific area is cost effective.

“The terminals that are saturated at a single location should be distributed to the areas where the machines didn’t reach,” he said. “It will create an ecosystem that transacts payments through cards.”

PUBLISHED ON Dec 05,2018 [ VOL 19 , NO 971]

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