M–Birr for Easy Access to Banking Services


Tesfaye Chalkisa, a farmer in Guto Gida Wereda in  Welega, Oromia, is a client of M-Birr and enjoying it.

He no longer has to make the 50km journey to the banks in the wereda town every time he wants to make payments to clients, receive money, or make deposits and withdrawals. He accesses the services through the agent banks Oromia Credit, a micro-finance institution, has established within his kebele. And as head of the Farmers’ Saving Cooperative in his town, Tesfaye has a lot of transactions to make?

M-Birr, was created for people just like Tesfaye.  This brand of mobile banking technology, is a money transfer system designed by Moss ICT Consultancy, a spin off of the Irish firm NCL Technologies.

NCL specializes in the supply of middleware: a platform that helps applications, like Viber, communicate easily with their operating system, like Android, helping both mobile network operators and application developers operate in cohesion.

Moss, initially dubbed M-Birr, was formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 2009, for the exclusive purpose of developing software fit for the Ethiopian context. A year later, it opened offices in Addis Abeba and started marketing its product – the M-Birr software to the micro-finance institutions (MFI) in the country.

At the time, MFIs were suffering from two major bottlenecks, said Teshome Kebede, general manager of Inclusive Financial Technologies (IFT) S.C. Operational costs were high and outreach was limited. Moss’s offer was therefore accepted.

Laws regarding mobile banking were yet to be declared and it was not until 2012 when that form of banking was allowed to be carried out through agents. Mobile banking was defined by the National Bank as “performing banking activities which primarily consist of opening and maintaining mobile/regular accounts and accepting deposits; furthermore, it includes performing fund transfers or cash in and cash out services using mobile devices.”

Read more at: Addis Fortune