Malawi urged to reach rural with mobile money services
A study by the Economics Association of Malawi (ECAMA) has found that the lack of incentives and information is hampering the penetration and usage of mobile money services in the country’s rural areas.
The study titled Promoting Mobile Money use through Training and Text Messages in Malawi found that due to lack of information on digital payments, people receive money through mobile money services - but instead of paying for goods and services, they cash out and pay in hard currency.
The study asserts that available information on services should address this issue.
ECAMA secretary general Andrew Kambatira said it was clear from the study that if people in rural areas are provided with correct information, more can start to use mobile money platforms and enter the financial ecosystem.
“An increased usage of digital payment systems would generally improve transactional efficiency in the market and would allow people to have a wide range of payment options and enhance security,” Kambatira said.
Consumer Association of Malawi director John Kapito said there are a number of issues that are hampering the penetration of mobile money services in Malawi.
“(These) include the high service fees and credibility challenges facing mobile money operators because of rising schemes that lead to theft by tricksters for which companies fail to provide remedies.”
Commenting on the report, Andrew Makanya, a telecommunications analyst at Computer Association of Zambia, said Malawi is not the only country to be impacted by low penetration of mobile money usage and lack of adequate information on mobile money services.
Zambia is another example.
Makanya said, “Malawi, like many other countries in Africa, has not done enough to promote mobile money usage in rural areas. There is little education on digital payment solutions and lack of incentives for those willing to operate in rural area.”