FLPFI Alumni are a very accomplished group of individuals working at Central Banks, Financial Regulation Agencies, or public and international agencies related to the promotion of financial inclusion in over 55 countries around the globe.
Eyob began the fellowship concerned that Ethiopians under 30 years old make up over 70% of the population and 22% of this age group was facing unemployment in 2018. What shocked him most was that this segment of the population was technologically savvy and had access to mobile phones but was not taking advantage of digital financial services. Moreover, according to World Bank data, only 1% of Ethiopians used mobile phones to access accounts and only 9% had made or received digital payments. Seeing this as a missed opportunity, Eyob used the fellowship to design a policy that would develop a regulatory sandbox, so that innovative financial services that rely heavily on technology could be offered to tech-savvy financially excluded young adults, while preserving the oversight capacity of NBE.
Ethiopian regulation has since changed, favoring the promotion of DFS, allowing non-traditional financial actors to join the market. In fact, due to Eyob and other FLPFI alumni’s efforts, since 2020 telecom operators are allowed to provide mobile money alternatives in the country. While digital financial services consolidate, Eyob is already thinking ahead, focusing on how to make sure that the introduction of new actors leads to more access to formal financial services for Ethiopians under 30 years old.