Mobile money has transformed the way Zimbabweans do business as much as it has led to greater financial inclusion. The second edition of the Zimbabwe Mobile Money and Digital Payments Conference and Awards ceremony, which was held at a local hotel in the capital, ran under the theme: Enhancing Risk Management On the Mobile Money and Branchless Banking Ecosystem. This saw more than 200 delegates from the financial and mobile institutions gather to deliberate on issues around digital payments in Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the high profile event, FN Software Solutions Chief Operating Officer Neeraj Malik said Agency Banking (or branchless banking) is a means for a traditional bank to cost effectively extend its branch network through the use of authorised agents.
“This enables the banks to provide low-risk services to customers in remote and rural areas that are difficult to service using traditional branches. The bank benefits through a larger customer base, boosting financial inclusion, product availability, and risk management.”
Malik added that the operation of agency banking is based on agents performing transactions on behalf of banked customers using a portable terminal.
Malik and Robert Rutsito our Chief Commercial Officer were part of the event with industry veterans having extensive experience in banking, regulation, IT and mobile payments, who shared their experiences and prognosis of the various challenges and opportunities in the industry. They also explored progress made on the interoperability, the role of near-field communication in championing new innovations as well as the value of agent banking in enhancing financial inclusion.
The conference, which convened at a time the economy is having cash challenges, brought together regulators, telecommunication companies and ICT service providers who focused on opportunities, challenges and threats in the sector. Discussions were mainly centred on progress made to make local systems interoperable and the role of mobile money and digital payments in solving the ongoing cash crunch.
The guest speaker, the ICT Postal and Courier Services minister Supa Mandiwanzira had an opportunity to speak from a regulatory point of view. The event was also graced by head of Tariffs and Competition for Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) Hilda Mutseyikwa, general manager for Ecocash Natalie Jabangwe- Morris, head of Mobile Financial Services with Telecel Violet Masunda, Barclays Bank CEO George Guvamatanga, POSB Bank CEO Admore Kandlela and NBS Banks agency banking unit officials among others.