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EIB to finance M-Birr

EIB to finance M-Birr

The European Investment Bank (EIB) expressed its commitment to assist M-Birr, a local IT firm actively involved in online payment system, with a three million euros equity investment, this week.

This will be EIB’s first time to invest in mobile-based financial technology services in Africa, according to the Bank.

It is a co-investment with DEG, a subsidiary of Germany’s KfW, German government-owned development bank, based in Frankfurt.

This is a part of EIB’s plan to inject close to 12 billion birr of financial assistance to public and private investment projects in Ethiopia, the largest ever financing program made by the bank in years.

The financing, which will be made for a number of projects, is in pipeline and most of the projects are expected to be realized in the coming years.

In this respect, the bank has been reviewing a financial assistance request from M-birr for the past couple of months, EIB said. 

The finance provision will support M-birr’s plan to expand its service. So far, M-Birr was mostly involved in offering mobile-based money transfer service for five micro finance institutions.

M-Birr, co-funded by foreign investors three years ago, has now processed payments for over 750,000 households with around three million beneficiaries. It is also serving 280,000 mobile money clients in the country.

With the assistance from EIB, the company plans to expand to other sectors mostly focusing on small businesses.

Just over the past two years, EIB has invested around USD 90 million in Ethiopia. It is to be recalled that last year Pim van Ballekom, vice president of EIB, signed USD 76 million concessional financing with the Ethiopian government.

In addition, the bank has also provided a USD ten million loan to an Ethiopia-based private company, Cepheus Growth Capital Fund in September, 2017.

Moreover, the bank is also receiving more financial assistant requests from the private sector in Ethiopia ranging from those involved in the manufacturing sector to service and others.

Since 1976, the bank had pledged a total of 400 million euros to Ethiopia for expenditures in infrastructure projects such as energy, water and communications. It has provided more than 22 billion euros for investments in Africa over the past five years