Mastercard's HomeSend joint venture is partnering with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia to provide more than 100 million Ethiopians the ability to send funds directly to any mobile number in the country.
Mastercard and mobile data services providers eServGlobal and BICS launched HomeSend in 2014 to enable business-to-business cross-border and cross-network transfers.
Consumers can send funds to and from mobile money accounts, payment cards, bank accounts or cash outlets, regardless of their location or that of the recipient. It is free for receivers and is accessible to anyone with a mobile number, and provides a network of money transfer operators and banks.
The service is expected to be available in Ethiopia before the end of the year.
"We are committed to helping develop a more inclusive economy and displacing cash in Ethiopia and across Africa," Daniel Monehin, division president for Sub-Saharan Africa at Mastercard, stated in a Sept. 21 press release.
Cash remains the biggest barrier to financial inclusion in Africa, Monehin added. "By empowering communities through technology, we provide access to formal financial services which brings with it the opportunity to prosper."
A year ago, HomeSend partnered with London-based Azimo, an online transfer provider, to introduce mobile wallets in 10 African countries. Mastercard says HomeSend will reach more than 70 markets this year.