Mela Electro Manufacturing Plc is inaugurating, the first assembly plant for automated teller machines (ATMs) in Ethiopia, introducing a new form competition to a market currently dominated by handful of foreign brands and their local representatives. Mela comes into the business offering locally assembled machines at a time when Central Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) has started buying directly from manufacturers instead of through their representatives, as it had done until the end of the last fiscal year.
“This decision has come after a gap in performance of local suppliers in terms of delivery and the procurement process being very long and cumbersome,” said Ephrem Mekuria, communication director at CBE.
Mela was established in 2012 with a capital outlay of 50 million Br by a husband and wife team, Naoll Addisu, CEO and Lilia Hailu, Chief Operations Officer. Both have worked in information technology for years, with Naoll having 10 years’ experience in the financial sector in the US, working for financial services firms Sallie Mae and JPMorgan Chase.
Mela has erected its plant on 5,000sqm plot of land in Sebeta town, 21Km south-west of Addis Abeba.
Mela has determined that 10,000 to 15,000 ATMs will be deployed in Ethiopia in the coming five years, Naoll said. The regulatory push on banks to reach the unbanked by at least increasing their number of branches by 25pc is another comparative advantage the study found in the context. There are now 2,500 ATMs deployed by both private and public banks.
Mela initially targets the domestic market but could expand to cover the eastern African market. It has now the production capacity of assembling four ATMs per day and later with the construction of a new plant inside the compound it plans to expand it to 10 to 15 ATMs. The new company has now employed a staff strength of 50 people, and services of the company extends to maintenance and other ATM service provision.
The company will join the market with three models of ATMs – Mela 20015 Lobby and Through the Wall (TTW) ATMs, and Mela 20025 TTW deposit Automation ATMs. The models have five cassettes for five kinds of currency notes. They have the capacity to handle from 500 to 5,000 transactions per day. Mela will use certified software that has EMV compliance and PIN pads that are certified by PCI-DCI.
Speaking for the bankers themselves, an official with Bunna International Bank, S.C. remarked, “it is a good thing to have them on board, as they will bring more options.”