The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has introduced a new policy regarding the issuance of payment instruments for mobile money providers in the country. This measure is aims to enhance security measures, foster healthy competition, and encourage innovation among Ethiopia's various mobile money service providers.

Under the new directive, the daily e-account balance limit has been increased from 30,000 birr ($539) to 75,000 birr ($1,347), and a new daily global transaction limit of 150,000 birr ($2,695) has been implemented. Transactions related to utilities, taxes, airline tickets, fuel, and bulk payments are exempt from these limits. Additionally, the directive allows banks to establish specialized subsidiaries to provide mobile money services.

The NBE stated that this directive revision is part of its continuous efforts to modernize the financial sector in alignment with the National Digital Payment Strategy. Recently, the central bank made amendments to the payments law to permit foreign investors to provide mobile money services in the Ethiopian telecom market. This has enabled Safaricom to introduce its M-Pesa digital payment service in Ethiopia, competing with the incumbent operator Ethio Telecom's Telebirr service. Since its launch in May 2021, the Telebirr platform has garnered 34.3 million users as of June 30, 2023.

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