TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has called on financial service providers to design products that take into account the needs of various people to increase financial inclusion in the country.
Recently, UNCDF, Airtel Money, FINCA Zambia, MTN Mobile Money, Zanaco and Zoona met to discuss one innovative approach, human centric design (HCD), which is a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process.
UNCDF Zambia knowledge management specialist Uloma Ogba said most products and services currently do not cater for the desires of customers such as low-income Zambians.
“For financial services, specifically digital financial services, to be accessible and useful to all Zambians, they must be designed to take into account the needs, wants and aspirations of the customer including low-income and rural Zambians.
“At UNCDF, we believe that by adopting a HCD approach, which elevates the customer to the ‘king/queen’ status [then] we can promote increased financial inclusion for all Zambians,” Ms Ogba said in a statement availed to the Daily Mail on Friday.
She said UNCDF has invested in initiatives such as the Mobile Money for the Poor Programme (MM4P) to resolve the need for broader access to financial services.
Ms Ogba said it has also invested in MM4P not only to promote financial inclusion but also bring HCD to digital finance services (DFS) to improve the customer’s experience and the provider’s ability to provide services according to the needs and wants of the consumers.
And Airtel Zambia sales manager Alfred Phiri said with the support of UNCDF, Airtel Mobile Money has conducted product tests to address issues such as liquidity management and is taking steps to implement the results of these tests in its operations.
“We want to see a significant increase in the uptake of DFS in the country. Other corporations in financial services performed similar tests and research where the prevalent finding was that the process of understanding the customer was often neglected,” Mr Phiri said.