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The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has given The United Bank S.C. a green light to begin piloting agent banking in the country. United Bank becomes the second bank in Ethiopia to offer these services, following Dashen Bank, who announced it would be launching its agent banking service by December 2014. These two licenses represent a significant new chapter in Ethiopia’s quest to become a financially inclusive society, and offer an insight into what the next chapter of mobile financial services (MFS) in Ethiopia may look like. According to the article, agents will be able to render the following services: receiving money, withdrawals, transfers, paying for services and checking balances. Clearly, the services offered will need to be expanded as Ethiopia plans its next steps, and NBE continues to be behind the pack re: promoting a growth-oriented MFS ecosystem, but agent banking will allow one of Africa’s most underbanked countries to expand financial access points to its population – undoubtedly, a positive development.
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