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Ethiopia - Commodity exchange coming to mobile phones
By Muluken Yewondwossen
The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) is in preparations to launch SMS (Short Message Service) and IBR (Internet Business Resources) services on mobile phones to disseminate trading information by March 2009.
According to Ahadu Wubshet, Chief Marketing Data Officer at ECX, the SMS service will deliver information in two ways. Daily prices will be sent to subscribers while any individual may request information via text messaging.
“SMS messages will be promptly answered with real time price information,” Ahadu told Capital.
According to Ahadu this system is very useful for people outside the areas covered by electronic price screens. ECX currently has 14 screens but will increase this to 60 within one year.
IBR also presents two kinds of services.
“Any interested person can dial the three-digit number that will be introduced to the public and select the language [English, Amharic, Tigrigna and Oromifa] to receive daily exchange information in the international market by country,” Ahadu explained to Capital.
The other IBR service requires an identification and password code and is accessible only by exchange members. Inventory information and the member’s account balance may thus be accessed from the convenience of one’s mobile phone.
“This service will improve traders’ interaction with the market and provide them and farmers alike with the information necessary to adjust their behavior to maximize value,” Ahadu added.
Currently, ECX updates commodity prices in real time both on its website and screens in regional towns.
“We plan to erect 200 screens within two years,” Ahadu said, adding that the screens will display additional information like weather conditions and market developments.
Recently ECX has begun trading coffee in addition to wheat, maize, sesame seeds and haricot beans. The exchange will also include other agriculture products in the future.
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