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.