Rise in demand for Digital Financial Services in Malawi
The Reserve Bank of Malawi has reported increased uptake of digital financial services (DFS) which it attributes to COVID-19-related restrictions and an increase in the number of mobile money agents.
According to the Bank’s National Payment Systems report for the fourth quarter of 2020, the adoption of DFS has been accelerated by restrictions on physical transactions and logistics, including business hours.
The report said the volume of retail DFS transactions rose by 14.7% to MK 149.5-million, while the value of transactions increased by 6.2% to MK2.1-trillion.
It added that the number of registered mobile money agents increased by 6.4% to a total of 80, 642 with the total number for registered mobile money subscribers at 7.6 million.
Commenting on the report, Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) executive director John Kapito said: “As we experience more lockdowns, we expect mobile money operators and the Reserve Bank of Malawi to consider removing some of the charges that consumers pay to transact through mobile money.”
Information and Communication Technology Association of Malawi (ICTAM) president Bram Fudzulani attributed the increase and growth in DFS transactions to the policy interventions that the Reserve Bank of Malawi introduced in the first quarter of 2020 - which saw financial service providers reducing transaction fees by 40%.
Fudzulani was quoted by the local Nations newspaper as saying: “There is an opportunity here and I hope policymakers are following these statistics to come up with policies that work for masses if we talk about financial inclusion as country. Transacting electronically has a lot of benefits besides the fact that consumers reduce the risk of moving with huge sums of money.”