Project Year



East Africa



Project Description

ethiopian currenccy

Existing mobile money architectures overlooked value storage and everyday money practices of individuals. They mainly deal with payment related issues and procedures based on bank accounts. They also targeted urban people, who have banking and technology know-how. Based on this knowledge gap, this research intends to explore, analyze, and identify design concepts for mobile money information system development that can support rural communities in developing countries who transact in open air market. Majority of our study population cannot write and read even their names; they identify currency notes based on color and size not based on values written on them, which raises the question how could such illiterate rural individuals transact in electronic payment ecosystem.

In this context, the purpose of this study is to thoroughly analyze and understand the characteristic nature of cash transactions and usage scenarios among study participants in open air market and identify design concepts and provoke discussions on this issue. Methodologically, we used qualitative methods, where data is collected through observation, discussions, and interview with key market participants and the data is documented through photograph and video. We found that almost all merchants: (1) Use color of currencies to identify one from the other. (2) Some merchants want to merge their sells while some want to keep their daily. (3) Due to their transaction practices, merchants have many problems and make many errors and mistakes. (4) merchants who have no formal education expressed that they would like to have devices that operate by sound. (5) Sellers & buyers set prices of certain items through negotiation. The output of this study contributes towards the development of cashless transaction based on mobile phones.


Woldmariam Mesfin Fikre

About the Researcher(s)

Woldmariam Mesfin Fikre is a lecturer at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He received his first degree in Business Management from Jimma University 2001, and a Master's degree in Information Science from Addis Ababa University 2005. He is currently enrolled in the IT-PhD school of the University in the Information Systems Division. He is interested in interdisciplinary areas, mainly: ICT4D, e-services, technology diffusion, IT-organizations-environment and virtual organizations. Currently, Woldmariam Mesfin Fikre is working on the one laptop per child project.

Synopsis of Research Results

Link to research article: Open air market and mobile money information system requirements

Blogpost: One researcher's thoughts on money and metadata based on fieldwork in Ethiopia


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