Regulating Mobile Money Service and Competition in Ethiopia: Emphasis on the Provision of Mobile Network Operator-Led Mobile Money Service

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Addis Ababa, University


Mobile Money Service (MMS) is now one of the leading digital economy transformation platforms and contributes to investment, innovation and economic growth. This thesis is concerned with assessing the regulation of MMS and competition, focused on Mobile Network Operator (MNO)-led MMS. The author employed a qualitative research approach in analyzing the pertinent laws with descriptive and exploratory methods of data analysis. Accordingly, the research reveals that the wording of the competition law does not fit the digital age and financial technology tools such as MMS. Further, the jurisdiction over anti- competitive acts on MMSs sector by the National Bank of Ethiopia and the dissolved authority for competition administration and enforcement which is now under the executive organ (Ministry of Trade and Regional integration) with a desk status is unclear. Moreover, regardless of the absence of promulgated parameters, potential „abuse of market dominance‟ and some „restrictive agreements‟ by Telebirr is creating a burden to other players in the MMS ecosystem. Therefore, the thesis generally recommends that first; Ethiopia must have a separate and comprehensive financial sector policy which clearly incorporates competition policy, along with establishing a national competition council and promoting competition knowledge. The country also needs to revisit the competition law in terms of digitalization, as well as the need to have an institutional and regulatory impact assessment including with market study of the MMS sector such as the market share of Telebirr, and finally, particular study should conduct whether the need to revive the dissolved authority as an independent institution or as to strengthen within its current position.