Central bank Governor Yinager Dessie (PhD) and Dereje Zenebe (far left), president of Zemen Bank, joined Tsehay Shiferaw (second from left) and Yilebes Addis, board chairperson and CEO of EthSwitch, respectively, to celebrate the payment switch operator's 10th anniversary at the Hilton Hotel last Thursday.

It was an event that saw C-suites and officials from the Ministry of Finance and the central bank well acquainted with one another affirm an auspicious yet uncertain moment in the history of Ethiopia’s financial sector. The occasion also saw a panel discussion on the importance of a national switch system in the payment industry and a short documentary on the company’s 10-year journey. EthSwitch, owned by all banks and established to enable interoperability between them, has reasons to celebrate. Through its national payment system, inter-bank transactions stood at over 38 million last year, a 41.5pc increase from the previous year. Its net profits of 87.3 million Br may not seem much compared to what its shareholders (the banks) report these days; it soared by 211.6pc from the previous year. Its fortune has been just as bright as that of the banking industry, which has seen impressive growth despite the war in the northern part and the political uncertainty across the country.

“[It] was a challenging year both at the global and national levels," said Tsehay, who also serves as president of Awash International Bank. "Yet, EthSwitch concluded a very successful year in the face of uncertainties. We can list up to eight new developments in the areas of the payment industry that are impacting positively the way our society transacts payments.”

One of these developments is interoperability between banks' mobile and internet payment systems, the latest frontier after automated teller machines (ATMs) and points of sale (PoS) systems. It has been the main hurdle not just for the payments industry but also for digital services.

PUBLISHED ON Dec 19,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1129]

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