Startup Thursday Talks: Digital Economy and Inclusive Financial Services

On December 8th, the Civic Engagement Hub sponsored a Startup Thursday talk hosted by the Orbit Innovation Hub on Digital Economy and Inclusive Financial Services with Kebour Ghenna, (Executive Director of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry), and Yared Endale, (Senior Director of Digital Financial Services at Cooperative Bank of Oromia).

Panelists discussed the importance of supporting financial inclusion while building out the infrastructure for Ethiopia’s digital economy and the role financial and technological institutions play in making this happen. They also discussed the existing policy gaps related to Ethiopia’s digital economy and the private sector’s role in building the capacity of emerging businesses and developing talent pipelines.

This discussion was particularly timely as the government is working to implement the Digital Ethiopia strategy which aims to digitize the economy by 2025. The strategy focuses on using technology and digital platforms to drive economic growth in key sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services, while simultaneously facilitating digital interactions between the government, private industry, and citizens. The government is also taking steps to introduce policies that would increase access to financial services for underserved populations as part of its financial inclusion strategy with the goal of leveraging digital technologies to drive economic growth and livelihoods. The Startup Thursday talk was an opportunity for attendees to learn about digital policies and financial inclusion from industry experts, and network with others in Ethiopia’s entrepreneurship and innovation community.

Startup Thursday is a monthly social event where aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators can connect with incubatees, invited guests, and young people from interested in technology and entrepreneurship hosted by Orbit Innovation Hub.