Dashen Bank in Ethiopia has partnered with Thunes, a Singapore-based global payments network, to facilitate fund transfers from around the world to the Horn of Africa nation.

The move will enable customers to send cross-border remittances directly to Dashen bank accounts, using Thunes’ network of sending partners with operations in more than 100 countries. 

The service also supports real-time transfers to the Bank’s mobile money solution, called Amole wallets, which is also in partnership with Flutterwave.

“We are delighted to partner with Dashen Bank, one of Ethiopia’s leading banks,” said Andrew Stewart, Thunes Global Head of Networks. “Our global partners can now give their customers enhanced access to this important corridor in Africa with faster and more convenient transfers.”

Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Addis Ababa, Dashen Bank is one of the biggest private banks in Ethiopia. It offers conventional and Sharia-compliant banking services through its more than 400 branches.

“This technology-powered solution gives Dashen Bank’s customers fast and convenient access to overseas funds via bank accounts and Amole mobile wallets,” Dashen Bank chief executive, Asfaw Alemu, said. 

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The cross-border payment solution is aimed at boosting financial participation in Ethiopia as more people are expected to open bank and Amole wallet accounts to receive overseas payments.

Given the service is primarily for remittances, it is expected to boost the inflow of foreign currency to the country’s economy. Funds sent from abroad are a vital lifeline for many communities in Ethiopia.

Dashen’s move comes at a time when Ethiopia is moving to open up its state-controlled economy as well as accelerating the integration of banks and mobile wallets.

In May, state-run Ethio Telecom launched its mobile money service, Telebirr, which has since recorded six million users. The platform also connected its wallet to the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and Bank of Abyssinia this month.

As well as broadening access to financial services, the government aims to tap into the local payments and international remittance markets. 

Data from the National Bank of Ethiopia shows that official remittances to the country reached $4.5 billion in 2019. This accounts for around 5% of the country’s gross domestic product and exceeds revenues earned from the export sector.

For Dashen Bank, the partnership with Thunes is “another positive step towards our goal of transforming Ethiopia’s financial services sector and delivering innovations to serve our customers’ needs better,” Alemu said.

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Michael Ajifowoke | Author

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