DEG provides €4 million equity capital for M-BIRR

 In news

DEG, a German development finance institution and a subsidiary of KfW Group, has invested €4m in M-BIRR, a cashless money transfer and payment service in Ethiopia.

Other investors include the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The Finnish development finance company Finnfund has been a shareholder in M-BIRR since as early as 2012.

M-BIRR provides an alternative to a bank branch by enabling payment by mobile phone (mobile money).

By doing so, it is playing a part in improving access to banking services in Ethiopia on a wide scale.

Inspired by the success story of the Kenyan provider M-PESA, which began in 2007, M-BIRR was established by Thierry Artaud and Jim Noctor in 2009.

At year-end 2017, over one million customers were registered on the platform for mobile payments.

Six financial institutions in Ethiopia currently partner with M-BIRR and deliver the M-BIRR service.

The new capital is earmarked for the business expansion and for increasing outreach in the country.

This will create 60 new jobs at M-BIRR, with additional indirect employment of over 400 in the agents network.

“DEG is providing equity capital for an innovative private company in one of the least developed countries in the world. By investing in M-BIRR, we are helping to advance financial inclusion in Ethiopia and to provide even more people with access to payment transactions”, said Andreas Zeisler, Head of DEG’s Financial Institutions Equity department.

For decades now, Africa has been a focal region for DEG, a subsidiary of the KfW Group.

In addition to investments in agriculture and private infrastructure, finance arrangements in the financial sector play a key role.

In this respect, fintech companies such as M-BIRR are becoming increasingly important.

This field brings together innovative technologies that are used in financial services. Source: Africa Global Funds

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