Digital Frontiers celebrate launch of FSD Ethiopia

Categories : Blog


Author: Debra Roodt

Digital Frontiers is excited to share the announcement of the launch of Financial Sector Deepening Ethiopia (FSD Ethiopia). FSD Africa (FSDA) has had a profound impact on fostering a collaborative environment for inclusive financial development in other African countries, and the launch of FSD Ethiopia is indeed a cause for celebration.

FSDA has been integral in capacity building within the financial sector in other African countries, and supports the development of accessible, inclusive, and sustainable financial markets for economic growth and development. This development agency will bring together key partners, market players, and stakeholders in the financial sector ecosystem in Ethiopia to promote and encourage systematic change and growth in this sector and will be able to apply an even more nuanced approach as the wealth of experience gained from other countries can be applied.

The launch, which happened on the 19th of May 2022, was attended by about 120 guests, including Juliet Munro (Director Digital Economy at FSDA), Yoseph Kibret (Digital Frontiers Brand Ambassador), Ethiopian Investment Holdings (EIH), the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), financial service providers, development agencies and other partners.

Present at the launch were Juliet Munro (Director Digital Economy at FSDA), Yoseph Kibret (Digital Frontiers Brand Ambassador), and leading Digital Finance Association members in Ethiopia.

FSD Ethiopia is co-funded by FCDO and the BMGF and will function as a market facilitation agent. The organisation’s vision is to deliver tangible and practical value to the economy and people of Ethiopia, by identifying underlying causes of financial system failures and providing technical and financial resources to address these constraints and challenges within the financial sector.Priority areas are financial inclusion, capital market development and institutional capacity development.

Building institutional capacity through scholarships

In line with its mission to building institutional capacity, DFI is implementing a scholarship programme with FSDA that awards excellent Ethiopian students with a full Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP) scholarship.

As a response to the impact of Covid-19 on fragile markets, FSDA approved 206 (equiv. $154200) full Certificate in Digital Money (CIDM) scholarships to applicants who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The first round of 142 scholarships comprised 49% from Zimbabwe, 27% from Senegal, 11% from Sierra Leone, 7% from Ethiopia and 6% from DRC. The second round of 64 Scholarships increased alignment to Fragile and Conflict Affected Situations (FCAS) countries by including more WAEMU countries, as well as deepening into Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The scholarship participants were awarded as follows: 53% Ethiopia, 5% DRC, 33% WEAMU countries (including 13% Senegal, 5% Niger, 5% Côte d’Ivoire, 10% other WEAMU countries) and 9% from Liberia, Burundi and Kenya.

DFI capacity building in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and is currently launching a new national Digital Identity, which dovetails neatly with the launch of FSD Ethiopia. We are confident that FSD Ethiopia will deepen the capacity building that has already begun, partly due to the scholarships we have in place within the Ethiopian digital financial sector.

DFI as a long history of building capacity in Ethiopia.  To date we have trained over 500 students and have an established community of practice, which has evolved to see the formation of the Association of Ethiopian Digital Finance Practitioners, both are an integral part of strengthening capacity building initiatives and helping to make it more tangible. This brings in a very practical element due to the nature of both the Association and the COP, as relevant issues are dealt with as they arise, in order to champion this shared cause of digital financial fluency and inclusion. Seeing locally-led digital development in action is both rewarding and necessary, and a robust, competitive, and inclusive financial market is essential to sustained development.

We are excited to welcome the Ethiopia National Identity Program participants to our Digital Identity course through scholarships awarded by BMGF to 22 participants. The Digital Identity course begins on the 9 September 2022.

DFI value and welcome the intention that all these initiatives have in common: the objective of inclusive financial development in Ethiopia, and institutional capacity development combined with capital market development for the benefit and improved livelihoods of Ethiopia’s households and communities.  We look forward to our continued involvement in the development of this sector in Ethiopia, working collaboratively with partners like FSD Ethiopia to seeing Ethiopia flourish.