Open API: Leapfrogging Ethiopian digital Economy

By Abebe Girmay

An open API, also known as a public API, is an application programming interface that allows the owner of a network accessible to external players. Service providers like banks, telecom or Fin-tech's will give universal access to consumers of that service, such as developers to develop applications for account information, payment initiations or other services.


An API is a software intermediary that makes it possible for application programs to interact with each other and share data. It's often an implementation of REST that exposes a specific service or software functionality while protecting the rest of the application.


Benefits of open APIs


Using an open API, a third-party developer can make money by licensing a new program, a mashup with advanced functionalities or an innovative use of the service being accessed that provides users value in ways the originator of the service had never envisioned.


Meanwhile, the open API's publisher gets to expand its user base without having to spend any money to develop niche industry software -- and it still gets to keep its source code proprietary.


In Ethiopia the concept of open APIs is at nascent stage. Only handful players in the industry appreciate the potential impact and it's role in accelerating the growth of the digital economy. Banks are definitely behind this.  Mobile Money platforms like Amole and Mbirr provide there APIs after integrator signed an NDA.


It is important for financial service providers, banks, telecoms and Fin-techs to open their APIs to third parties so that they can integrate easily, enable digital payments and support the country digital economy agenda.  Such kind of initiatives can fast track interoperability  between important players and contribute to the growth of the digital economy in Ethiopia.



We are working on " 2019 Investment and funding report for Startups in Ethiopia" and we think you would like it.


We have been collecting data over the year but we don't think we have it all.  So if you are a startup ( tech or non tech) from Ethiopia and raised any funding (equity or non-equity), please fill your details here. We would love to include you in the report.



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