Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is advertising its commercial market to international investors as its financial services firm collaborates with IrisGuard a British digital payments company.

The British digital payment company supplies a payment framework called EyePay Network which operates biometric data obtained from the human eye to authorize and facilitate money transfers. It is established to mitigate the use of physical compliance operations and documentation which usually creates challenges regarding financial incorporation. This payment framework helps organizations overcome challenges linked to network integration, position, or education.

The introduction of a British company in the financial industry could help in advertising and attracting international companies as most commercial activities have been controlled by local, indigenous companies.

CEO of IrisGuard, Imad Malhas said “The Ethiopian government’s economic reforms, promoting private sector growth and serving as a gateway to East African markets, were recently emphasized by Mr. Beyene Gebremeskel, deputy head of mission at the Ethiopian Embassy in London, at the International Business Week in London. This aligns with our strategy to broaden our reach across Africa, targeting countries like Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and Ghana.”

Bernard Laurendeau who is the CEO of Arifpay, believes that this business deal will make Ethiopia unbundle its finance industry and the entire economy. He quoted that “Ethiopia is one of the African Union member states who signed and ratified the AfCFTA protocol to harmonize policies and facilitate trade and investment between member countries. The country is also in the process of joining the WTO. The economy is opening up and our policymakers are in the final stage of giving licences for international service providers.”

The CEO further said that local operation suppliers like Arifpay are set to enjoy the values of this move. Stating that “Arifpay is fully integrated into the National Payment Switch (EthSwitch) and is working with all the local banks here in Ethiopia. We have the capacity to work with international banks coming to join the market. Our business model is simple: partnership and collaboration within the framework of National Bank of Ethiopia rules and regulations.”

Arifpay together with Both IrisGuard view the industry as having the ability to be a very profitable business. Malhas explained that only one-third of the citizens own bank accounts and Ethiopia houses about 820,000 asylum seekers.

He further said that “Alongside Arifpay, we aim to tap into this market, extend financial services to underserved communities, attract new customers, and play a crucial role in reducing poverty and promoting economic development.”

The CEO of Arifpay also said that the company is “committed to driving improved efficiency in payments service delivery” and “long-term inclusive growth,” with more sophisticated digital solutions promising “to unlock more opportunities while serving the community.”

A significant number of foreign direct investments (FDI) and the involvement of international organizations in Ethiopia’s commercial structure could aid in upgrading the commercial operations in the country. Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, revealed that his dream is that the unbundling of the financial industry and other strategic sectors,  could lead to wealth

of foreign institutions in Ethiopia’s financial system could also help drive up the quality of financial services in the country. Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has expressed his hope that liberalization of the financial sector, as well as other strategic industries, could spur long-term economic growth as he attempts to instigate a fundamental change of direction in the Ethiopian economy.


Olatoyosi Esuola loves art, poetry, and spoken words. He is a big fan of jazz music and movies, which is why he see everyone as actors here on earth getting their takes. He has been writing poetry and articles for over a decade and has published a book of poems.

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