Refugees can now open mobile money accounts – BoZ


BANK of Zambia has authorised the use of refugee identification cards as part of the Know Your Customer requirements for mobile money accounts, United Nations Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) digital finance specialist Nandini Harihareswara has said.

Ms Harihareswara said Zambians openness to new ideas and innovation on the part of regulators, providers and customers is a positive development in promoting digital financial services (DFS).
“I have worked in many other markets across Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. But Zambians are open to having real conversations, not just about the challenges, but about opportunities that exist. Not just about the problems, but how to solve them.
“For example, in just a couple of weeks, the BoZ responded positively to providers requesting authorisation to use Refugee IDs or Alien IDs as part of the Know Your Customer requirements for mobile money accounts. Both the speed of the request from the private sector and the speed of the response by the central bank are a great sign and hope for the 57,000 persons of concern in the country,” Ms Harihareswara said in her opinion paper titled ‘Zambia at the tipping point of DFS.
She wrote with nostalgia that Zambia is small but mighty in promoting DFS.
“When it comes to DFS, what many do not realise is that Zambia was the earliest adopter of DFS in Africa. Way before Safaricom launched M-Pesa in Kenya in 2006, Celpay had launched Zap in Zambia in 2002, and DFS market is competitive and has a diverse group of providers catering to the digital financial needs of the Zambian population,” she said.
The usage of DFS in Zambia was launched in May 2015 with only two percent of the adult Zambian population were active registered users of DFS and there were a total of 1,656 active agents in the country.
By end of 2016, 18 percent of the adult Zambian population are active registered DFS users and there are a total of 11,025 active agents.


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