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Malawi bemoans low number of rural mobile money agents

Malawi bemoans low number of rural mobile money agents

The Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) is concerned over the low number of mobile money agents in rural areas.

CAMA executive director John Kapito said the situation impacts negatively on the country's financial inclusion agenda.

He added that mobile money agents could be frustrated because of the low transaction volume in rural areas compared to urban areas.

Kapito was quoted by the country's Nation newspaper as saying "this is so because most of the agents in rural areas do not always have the cash to give clients while at the same time, most of the clients in rural areas are basically recipients of cash than senders."

Kapito said there is need to introduce incentives for those willing to operate in rural areas in order for the status quo to change.

Andrew Makanya, a telecom analyst at Computer Association of Zambia said the situation in Malawi is similar to that of Zambia and many other counties in Africa.

"As in Malawi, many people in rural areas in Zambia are equally struggling to access mobile money services because the majority of mobile money agents are based in urban areas. There is need therefore for authorities to come up with policies that will support the equal distribution of mobile money agents in all areas of these countries."

According to a recent World Bank report, the distribution of mobile money agents in Malawi remains heavily skewed towards urban and semi-urban areas with 77% of the agents operating in urban and semi-urban areas, while only 33% out of a total of 39, 434 mobile money agents operate in rural areas of the country.

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