Cgrate, trading as 543 Konse Konse has partnered with RUFEP to promote access to financial services by deploying 543 Point of Sale (POS) gadgets in targeted rural areas.

The project dubbed “Increasing the spread of financial services in rural areas through 543 machines project” aims to cut distances by rural people to access financial services.

The project targets to deploy 1,000 POS gadgets to merchants operating local home shops in rural areas. Under the project, POSs were being sold at a subsidized price (by RUFEP) to merchants who are  trained by Cgrate on how to use them to Cash In/Out, make transactions and sell airtime.

By mid-November 2020, Cgrate had deployed 760 POS machines in 4 provinces which includes North Western, Luapula, Central Province, and Western Provinces of Zambia. In Luapula about 180 POS gadgets have been deployed by mid-November 2020.

On the 17th November, 2020, a RUFEP team conducted field visits in Luapula Province to ascertain progress on the deployment of POS gadgets by the implementing partner in the province and to document lessons learnt from the target beneficiaries.

During the field visits, Programme Coordinator Mr. Michael Mbulo led the RUFEP team to pay a courtesy call to Chief Chisunka of the Ushi people in Mansa District, Luapula province.

Mr. Mbulo disclosed to His Royal Highness Chief Chisunka that RUFEP was supporting projects across the country aimed to promote rural financial inclusion through implementing partners.

“In Luapula province, Mansa District, RUFEP partnered with Cgrate to ensure financial services are brought closer to the people. We are here to see how rural people have received the 543 Konse Konse POS machines”, he said.

Chief Chisunka affirmed that the POS gadgets supplied by Cgrate were facilitating access to financial services to the rural people who were financially excluded in his chiefdom and the surrounding areas.

“We do not have banks and other financial services here. These machines are making it easy for our people to make transactions like buying power, talk-time and accessing financial services near their homes without travelling long distances”, he said.

In Chilila area, Chief Chisunka’s kingdom, Mr. Geoffrey Mambwe a local home shop owner said he purchased the POS machine due to high demand for financial services by the community including Civil Servants.

Mr. Mambwe said with a POS gadget in his shop, Civil Servants who get paid through Atlas Mara and Indo Zambia can now easily withdrawal their salaries and deposit money from his shop.

“Rural people and Civil Servants here had a challenge to access financial services, purchase airtime and to make payments for Pay Television, Electricity and Zambia Revenue Authority. These services were only available in Mansa which is 40 Kilometers away”, he said.

At Musonda Falls in Mwense District, Christine Nakazwe, a local home shop owner across the bridge said the POS gadget has increased her business volumes in terms of transactions. She said that when people make withdrawals, they also make other payments and purchases from her shop.

Cgrate Regional Sales Representative Sectus Muleya with 543 Konse Konse Agent Nakazwe Christine at Musonda Falls

In Kawambwa, Jordan Mulunga, Jomus Enterprises Proprietor said the POS has helped his company to provide financial services in Kawambwa as the district has only one bank which the Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco).

“The POS has incorporated a lot of financial services. If Cgrate can also partner with Zanaco, it will help to increase access to financial services”, Mr. Mulunga said.