Commercial Launch

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Arifpay – the first Payment System Operator (PSO) in Ethiopia receives the green light for commercial launch from the National Bank of Ethiopia.

Arifpay Financial Technologies S.C., (Arifpay) is pleased to announce the official commercial launch of its Point of Sale (POS) and Payment Gateway services on December 15, 2022 after making the necessary preparations to implement it.

On November 25, 2022, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) approved Arifpay’s request to start operations for POS and Payment Gateway activities after meeting the requirements set forth in Directive No. ONPS/02/2020.

Arifpay is a financial institution licensed by the National Bank of Ethiopia in the field of providing digital payment methods. Arifpay is Ethiopia’s first POS payment system operator and has payment solutions for various payment terminals such as smartphones, POS and Quick Response (QR). It is also licensed to provide various Payment Gateway solutions including utility bills, airtime payment, e-commerce, school fee processing etc. Arifpay provides innovative, secure and simple digital payment solutions for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), merchants, Banks and Customers working through business partners.

After a long preparation process, Arifpay announced the official commercial launch at events organized at the Grand National Theater and Sheraton Addis Hotel in the presence of senior government officials, as well as senior bank executives and leadership from business partners. Among the guests present on the launch day were: H.E Dr. Belete Mola, Minister at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT), H.E Ato Nigusu Tilahun, State Minister at the Ministry of Labor and Skills (MoLS), and Ato Yilebes Addis, CEO of EthSwitch and representative from National Bank of Ethiopia.

Arifpay 1.0 was developed entirely in Ethiopia and includes products such as Arif Gateway, Arif Smart POS and Arif Mobile POS designed to enhance our country’s digital payment infrastructure. This allows customers to securely purchase products and services using their bank cards. By promoting the culture of accepting payments with Android-based Smart and Mobile POS devices, merchants can increase their business by reducing the number of steps consumers take to complete their purchase.

Arifpay helps banks support Ethiopia’s transition into a middle-income country and lead in this digital era by empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across Ethiopia by creating and adding value to customers and unlocking new revenue streams. Through MSMEs who are the engine of the economy, Arifpay is expected to grow the banked population in Ethiopia, which will lead to deposit mobilization, increased investment, targeted inflation, and increased money velocity.

H.E Ato Nigusu Tilahun, State Minister at MoLS, who was present at the launch event stated that “access to secure and simple digital payment service infrastructure will improve the acceptance of digital payments among MSMEs and catalyze their business growth by stimulating entrepreneurship.” In the panel discussion at the event, he also mentioned that MSMEs hold the lion’s share of solutions for Ethiopia’s economic aspirations. Also, when the draft MSME Development Strategy is implemented, it will be a great contribution to the development of MSMEs.

The financial sector in Ethiopia is being properly regulated by the National Bank’s regulations with prudential requirements and restrictions. A sustainable and well-regulated digital payment ecosystem will ensure Ethiopia’s transition to a middle-income economy. As the first bank-led digital payment service in Ethiopia, Arifpay offers payment services with the same level of security as a regular bank and additional innovative solutions. Accordingly, by being the preferred digital payment infrastructure in Ethiopia and by continuous innovation and improvement, it is prepared to bring Ethiopia’s banking sector to the desired level.

Arifpay’s mission is not only about its product or technology, but is also aligned with Ethiopia’s National Digital Payment Strategy which details how digitalization of payments in the country will bring about greater efficiency in payments service delivery, transparency, economic participation of citizens and will lead to financial inclusion and sustainable inclusive growth.

A representative from the National Bank of Ethiopia, who was present at the launch event stated that “the NBE recognizes the challenges and needs of a strong and responsible digital payment ecosystem in Ethiopia and is committed to implementing the Ethiopian National Digital Payment Strategy”.

Arifpay digital payment services will narrow the gap of financial inclusion and accessibility in our country and allow people to get better, faster and easier financial services at a lower transaction cost. In addition to creating a healthy cash flow for businesses, Arifpay will increase the overall development of the country and our people by increasing savings, reducing poverty, encouraging entrepreneurship and investment, reducing costs and eventually growing the economy. In this regard, Arifpay is playing an important role in making Ethiopia’s Digital Strategy 2025 a success.

Minister of MInT, H.E Dr. Belete Mola, said that innovative digital payment services for financial services play a significant role in ensuring financial inclusion and encouraging innovation in the banking system. 

A digital payment system plays a key role in ensuring Ethiopia’s Digital Strategy 2025. Digital Ethiopia 2025 outlines how efficient digitization of payments in the country can ensure payment service delivery, transparency, economic participation, financial inclusion and sustainable inclusive growth.

Arifpay is launching the Arifpay 1.0 suite of offerings and is inviting various entities to partner for mutual growth. In this regard, Arifpay invites various partners such as Resellers, Value-Added Resellers and System Integrators and other partners to shape the future of payments in Ethiopia and grow together. Partners can use Arifpay’s payment infrastructure to access new payment integrations and solutions for millions of businesses across Ethiopia.

Arifpay is also following Ethiopia’s Homegrown Economic Reform Agenda by introducing homegrown digital payment systems to our country. The CEO of EthSwitch, who attended the event, said that EthSwitch is currently working on various projects to ensure the interoperability of POS terminals and other digital payment platforms implemented by all financial service providers.

According to Arifpay CEO Bernard Laurendeau, Arifpay is promoting digital business across Ethiopia using new digital payment systems. In addition, what makes Arifpay unique is not only the technology or the services made available, but also how Arifpay goes to the market through channel partners such as training agencies, Value Added Resellers, Resellers, System Integrators and Implementers and others. By partnering with these channel partners, Afripay helps banks not only grow their existing customer base but also find net new customers and merchants through our channel partners.

On this occasion, Arifpay calls upon channel partners and all stakeholders to work together to make the payment ecosystem more effective and meet the country’s digital financial needs.

The Board Chairman of Arifpay, Dr. Zewdineh Beyene Haile stated that “Arifpay has come a long way after its inception in 2017 through continuous product development, and engagement with government bodies and regulator arms, and that it is pleased to reach yet another key milestone today, as the first Payment Service Operator officially set by the NBE for commercial launch”. 

Arifpay 1.0 POS solutions are suitable for use in the retail, automotive, healthcare, financial services, FMCG (consumer goods) hospitality, entertainment and travel sectors among others.

For more information, contact Mr. Amanuel Yohannes, Public Relations and Communications Manager.


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