Ethiopia Digital Payment Conference 2024: A Landmark Event for Financial Inclusion and Digital Transformation

The Ethiopia Digital Payment Conference, organized by the National Bank of Ethiopia and held on April 5-6, 2024, marked a significant milestone in Ethiopia’s financial landscape. As a pivotal gathering for leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as development partners, the conference delved into the cutting-edge of digital payment solutions, offering a robust platform for discussions aimed at enhancing the security, efficiency, and accessibility of financial services in the country.

The conference opened with an enthusiastic turnout, bringing together over 300 participants from diverse sectors. The first day was characterized by spirited discussions and a shared recognition of Ethiopia’s substantial progress in digital payments, which, in 2023, surpassed traditional cash transactions for the first time.

Keynote speeches and panels covered a wide array of topics crucial for advancing Ethiopia’s financial infrastructure. Discussions ranged from enhancing national payments systems to boosting financial literacy, strengthening consumer protection, and utilizing data for more precise credit decisions. A particular focus was on Ag-tech partnerships, which are seen as pivotal for the digitization of the agriculture sector, Ethiopia’s largest economic sector.The momentum continued into the second day, with stakeholders exploring ways to leverage the foundational work already in place to expand digital public infrastructure and other financial services nationwide. Central themes included the importance of interoperability, the role of instant payments in fostering responsible digital payments, and strategies for promoting financial equality for women.

The transformative potential of digital financial services in the public sector also received significant attention, with discussions on how these technologies can streamline operations and increase governmental transparency and efficiency.

The conference culminated in a fireside chat with H.E. Governor Mamo E. Mihretu, who provided insightful reflections on Ethiopia’s digital journey and its future ambitions in digital financial services (DFS). His Excellency emphasized the collective effort required to broaden credit access, particularly for underserved communities such as the agricultural sector, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and women.

Governor Mamo E. Mihretu also highlighted the initiatives undertaken by the National Bank of Ethiopia to fortify consumer protection and called on all stakeholders to commit to responsible digital financial practiceThe Ethiopia Digital Payment Conference not only underscored the significant strides made in the digital payment arena but also set the stage for future initiatives. It underscored a national commitment to transforming financial services to be more inclusive, secure, and efficient, ensuring that every Ethiopian can benefit from the digital economy. As Ethiopia continues to innovate and push boundaries, the insights and strategies shared at this conference will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the nation’s financial future.

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