Dialog Axiata PLC and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) collaborated to pilot a digital payment platform roll-out across 200 ATM (Automated Teller Machine) locations in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province. The announcement was made at the launch ceremony held in Jaffna.
With LKR 60 million from DFAT’s Business Partnerships Platform and LKR 91 million of its own funding, Dialog intends to reach and support underbanked communities with its state-of-the-art digital payment retail system.
Customers in 200 locations will be able to withdraw money via eZ Cash across a wide network of corner stores and ATMs by just using their mobile phones. eZ Cash is a mobile wallet, which is licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Customers can easily transact on-the-go and pay for goods, services and mobile reloads. Also, eZ cash customers can send and receive money between any mobile phone in Sri Lanka. Launched in 2012 as the world’s first cross-operator Mobile Money service, eZ Cash has not only won the hearts of its users, but also international recognition such as the Global Mobile Award for Best Mobile Money Service at the GSMA Awards 2015.
The Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Bryce Hutchesson, welcomed the initiative. “Our partnership with Dialog Axiata lays the foundation for the delivery of advanced digital and financial services to Sri Lankans in the Northern Province. I expect the pilot to generate tremendous learnings and impact, many times greater than our original investment. We live in a world where access to technology is an important equalizer of social and economic opportunity.”
Rainer Deutschmann, Group Chief Operating Officer of Dialog Axiata PLC, noted “The partnership between the Australian government and Dialog Axiata PLC is an expression of our greater effort to propel digital and financial inclusion in the country. We aim to provide an inclusive, safe and low-cost payment platform to foster economic growth from the grassroots. Customers can safely and easily deposit and withdraw cash to and from their digital wallet, as well as transact in a cash-less way. This project is part of our wider Digital Transformation Initiative to support economic growth not just in the Northern region but across the whole country. The eZ Cash based platform shall stimulate new business opportunities for entrepreneurs and small retailers with a special focus on women retailers. Dialog will provide training and run parallel digital literacy programs to expedite adoption.”
Pleased to have attended the AGM of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association. A key theme of the recently presented budget was the need to shift to empowerment of people rather than providing hand-outs and untargeted welfare. The apparel industry is a case in point that the most sustainable form of poverty reduction is through the creation of such jobs.
The apparel industry has provided 400,000 direct employment opportunities and 400,000 indirect employment opportunities. Over the years, the creation of such livelihoods has helped lift many households out of poverty whilst also contributing to the empowerment of women.
Competing in the international market is often challenging. However, Sri Lanka’s apparel exporters have thus far faced those challenges. You have constantly evolved and improved, and proved that Sri Lankan enterprise can take on the world and win.
This ability to evolve and adapt is one of the main reasons for the development and success of the industry. As I noted in my Budget speech, “Competition breeds success, it tests our limits and forces innovation”.