Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) governor, Dalitso Kabambe, has talked highly of mobile money transfers saying they are safer and reliable.
Kabambe was speaking in the capital Lilongwe when he presided over the launch of ‘Mobile Money for the Poor: Making Malawi Next Digital Financial Services (DFS) An Initiative’ workshop.
The programmed is being made possible with funding from which UN capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
The workshop was organized to facilitate a discussion among stakeholders on how to leverage the current DFS situation to move the country to become the next digital finance success story in Africa.
High level officials such as bank managers and mobile telecommunications companies attended the function.
In his keynote address the Kabambe said Malawi is on the right track to become the next Africa’s success story on digital financial services.
He said in terms of legislation, in 2016 parliament passed the Payment System Act which regulates the way payment clearance and settlements of transactions should be done in the country to the best interests of all parties involved.
He said in terms of structures, a national taskforce on electronic payments was established to coordinate the implementation of appropriate nationwide interventions for the five years.
The central bank chief also commended the rolling out of the country’s interbank transfers and settlement systems which settle all interbank payment obligations.
Said Kabambe: “As of May 2018, there were a total of 4.7Million registered mobile money subscribers who processed a total number of 15.2million transactions amounting to a total value of K68Billion (about US$93.3million).”
In his remarks, Fletcher Chilumpha, UNCDF national programme specialist, said the programme started it’s operation in Malawi in 2012 saying the initial projects of UNCDF through its programme MM4P, coincided with the first pilots of digital wallets.
Chilumpha said the pilots have become services adopted and actively used by over 20 percent of the adult population, thanks to a network of agents that also grew from 200 to 12,750 over the same period.
He said in just 5 years, the country saw mobile money accounts leapfrog from less than 1,000 accounts to a staggering 1.8 million in 2017.
“Taking an ecosystem approach, UNCDF MM4P worked on all fronts to ensure services would benefit all Malawians and in particular those most in need of relevant, appropriate and affordable financial services. This approach implies to work with the private sector and the regulator as well as the government,” said Chilumpha.
He said UNCDF MM4P is now focusing on helping provide better recruis and support female agents who have proven to reach more female customers.
“Because if tomorrow women would reach the same level as men in account ownership in Malawi, the country would surpass the financial inclusion rates of Tanzania and Uganda with digital services,” he said.