Agora Microfinance Zambia Limited mobilized over 600 mobile money agents under the RUFEP supported project across the eight provinces of Zambia.

In August 2018, RUFEP signed a grant agreement with Agora Micro-Finance Zambia limited to support the Mobile Money Agency Project aimed to address challenges Mobile Money agents face in terms of liquidity.

Under the Agency and Mobile Banking Window 2 of the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF), RUFEP offered a grant to Agora Microfinance to support at least 500 rural mobile money agents with liquidity targeting rural districts across the country.

The two year grant agreement also targeted to increase the volumes of mobile money transactions for the Mobile Money agents and for Agora Microfinance Zambia Limited.

Following the end of project, RUFEP visited Agora Microfinance Zambia’s branches in Mumbwa, Kaoma and Senanga to assess achievements of the Mobile Money Agency Project and to document some lessons learnt.

During the field, the RUFEP Team were accompanied the Agora Microfinance Mobile Money Agency Coordinator Matthews Zimba to assess the impact of the project on the intended beneficiaries (Mobile Money Agents) in Mumbwa, Kaoma and Senanga Districts of Zambia.

Speaking during the field visit, Mr. Zimba said disclosed that by the end of the project in December 2019, Agora Microfinance mobilized over 660 active mobile money agents who are supported with liquidity.

“Urban based Agents predominantly are deposit taking (cash-in) while rural based agents cash-out. Agents in rural districts used to wait for a client to deposit for them to make cash-outs due to lack of liquidity. This resulted in high turn-over of clients and limited the number of transactions for agents. Our branches now provide liquidity in terms of cash-in and cash-out for Mobile Money agents”, he said.

Mr. Zimba said with the Super Dear Account, Agora acts as go-between the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and the Mobile Money Agents which has helped to solve the liquidity problem by the agents and increased their volumes of transactions.

With the Super Dealer Accounts, Agora Microfinance provides liquidity (electronic float (e-cash) and cash) services not only to mobile money agents but also agents for commercial banks (e.g. Zanaco Express Agents) and Zoona.

During the field visit the RUFEP Team visited a number of Mobile Money agents as beneficiaries to document how they have benefited from Agora’s Mobile Money Project.

Speaking during the field visit, Frank Zulu, a Mobile Money Agent in Kaoma confirmed that Agora Microfinance branch in Kaoma provides him with both cash and electronic value when he runs out of float which has improved his daily sales.

On the challenges faced by the agents, Nacki Mabesere, an MTN agent in Mumbwa said the new charge of 0.5% by the MNOs (MTN,Airtel)  which has been passed to the agents has affected their profitability.

Other challenges cited by the agents affecting their profitability in the rural districts included levies charged by local authorities which are considered exorbitant by the agents.


The Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP) partnered with Zoona on the project to install solar panels on Zoona’s booths to provide energy for phone charging and to increase business hours.

Prior to the project, Zoona tellers and agents would charge their phones at home which often run out of power during trading hours. This would prompt agents to look for a nearby shop with power to recharge their phones. During the time when they are charging their phones, they would not transact thereby losing out on business. Making solar available in kiosks would ensure that Zoona’s financial services could be enhanced and accessed by rural populations.

On the 16th March, 2018, RUFEP signed a grant agreement with Zoona under the Agency and Mobile Banking Window II of the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF), to pilot the installation of solar panels on booths in Southern and Eastern Provinces of Zambia.

After the installation of solar panels during the pilot, the tellers and agents no longer had a challenge of charging their phones, lighting their kiosks and customers bouncing. The trading hours were increased by 90 minutes per day.

Following the successful piloting of the project, by the end of 2018, installations were rolled out in other parts of the country. Zoona agents especially those based in rural areas found the initiative beneficial as it resulted in more transactions and improved service delivery.

Given Chesu, a Zoona agent in Mumbwa said ever since he got the solar booth last year in October, 2019, his business has greatly improved.

“With too much load shedding by Zesco in Mumbwa and limited battery power for my mobile phone, with solar power my phone no longer goes off. This has increased my business time by 90 (ninety) minutes”, Given disclosed.

The Zoona Solar project supported by RUFEP came to an end by March 2020. Commenting on the project, Zoona Director of Operations Sam Greenly said his company was grateful to RUFEP for the support which increased Zoona’s footprint in Zambia and business on the market.

Mr. Sam Greenly Zoona Director of Operations

“We fitted the panels and enhanced branding for more than 274 locations nationwide. This has helped us to reach and service about 891,172 consumers countrywide in 2019 alone and this has really made financial inclusion possible to people in rural areas”, Mr. Greenly said.

He said going forward, Zoona was now looking at not only offering Zoona products but also for other partners, such as products like Tenga, MTN, Airtel, Zamtel and Mukuru Money transfer adding that this means anyone can go to a Zoona booth and do all the financial transactions including paying bills.

And RUFEP Programme Coordinator Michael Mbulo said the Solar Power project with Zoona has helped to expand rural financial inclusion in Zambia.

“The project was initially a pilot in eastern and southern province. We are happy that following the pilot, Zoona rolled out the initiative to other provinces across the country”, Mr. Mbulo said.