HomeSend, a joint venture of MasterCard, eServGlobal and BICS, and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) have partnered to launch a new remittance service in Ethiopia.

The new service will allow over 100 million Ethiopians to transfer funds directly to any mobile number in the East African nations.

HomeSend, which was introduced in 2014, will allow business to business cross-border and cross-network transfers. It will also allows consumers to transact to and from mobile money accounts, payment cards, bank accounts or cash outlets, regardless of their location or that of the recipient.

The remittance service is free for receivers, and is accessible to anyone with a mobile number.

CBE president Bekalu Zeleke said that the remittance service will be available in the county before the end of 2016.

Zeleke added: “At the CBE, we believe that embracing technology is integral to bringing the best possible service to our customers. HomeSend is an example of how, when working with the right partner, like MasterCard, a financial institution can improve the lives of its customers.”

MasterCard Sub Saharan Africa division president Daniel Monehin said: “We are committed to helping develop a more inclusive economy, and displacing cash in Ethiopia and across Africa. It’s through digital payment solutions such as HomeSend that we are financially empowering people who need it the most.

“Cash remains the biggest barrier to financial inclusion in Africa. By empowering communities through technology, we provide access to formal financial services which brings with it the opportunity to prosper.”

According to MasterCard, the remittance industry in Ethiopia is estimated to be worth almost $3.5bn.