TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
ZAMBIA has the lowest mobile money agent revenue and profitability, with 43 percent of the agents sending off customers due to inadequate cash and unreliable electronic platforms.
A financial inclusion digest by United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) notes
that Zambia is lagging behind in some aspects despite being at par with East African countries on transaction volumes.
This is according to research findings by the UNCDF programme, Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) that is working with digital financial services (DFS) providers to develop strategies to drive the adoption and usage of electronic wallets.
It notes that the slow growth of agent networks has resulted in revenue and profitability.
Commenting on the findings, UNCDF regional technical specialist for MM4P Nandini Harihareswara says, “Like most markets, 43 percent of agents bounce customers because they don’t have enough cash or e-float at the right time. This is related to the issue of agent profitability, but also one that is systemic and the responsibility of the provider.”
Ms Harihareswara said currently, the Zambian DFS market is competitive and has a diverse group of providers catering to the digital financial needs of the population.
“Through DFS, we want to see all Zambians have improved access to their basic needs, including power, water, education and quality agricultural inputs – all at an affordable cost.
“UNCDF MM4P’s vision for Zambia is to put the needs, wants and aspirations of Zambians at the centre of DFS product design, agent liquidity and the policy and regulatory environment,” she said in the financial inclusion and DFS weekly digest availed to the Daily Mail on Tuesday.
The MM4P is a joint programme of UNCDF and Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ), and as at 2016, only 18 percent of the adult population were active registered DFS users and a total of 11,025 active agents.