Awareness of mobile money is strong in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Eighty-two percent of the population of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) lives without access to financial services. These “unbanked” people are forced to use cash despite the very real risk of being robbed while carrying it. This was a serious issue according to 65 percent of those we surveyed for the Ericsson ConsumerLab report Financial Services for Everyone with regards to mobile money usage in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The report examines mobile money usage in Angola, DRC, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. These five sample countries are home to some of the poorest people in the Sub-Saharan Africa region but are also among the world’s fastest growing economies.
The case for avoiding cash
This large portion of the DRC population needs to be brought into the folds of financial inclusion in order to generate sustainable economic growth. The high cost of opening a bank and long distances to banks are among the barriers to gaining access to financial services for the unbanked in the country.
Additional challenges are related to lengthy queues, processing time, high service charges while receiving payments are also common. What’s more, the amount of time taken to process money transfers, the distance from the place of transacting for international transfers can be frustrating – as can long processing and waiting times during bill payment provide opportunities.
What’s also needed in the country is to address certain issues pertaining to the preconditions of mobile money, such as the fact that 25 percent of the population does not own a SIM card.
A stronger agent network
There is hope. Awareness of mobile money services – and a certain degree of loyal consumer base – exists in DRC. 76 percent told us for the abovementioned report that they were aware of mobile money and 41 percent said they know how it works – at least from a consumer perspective. However, only 27 percent had tried mobile money and just 23 percent used in regularly.
We detected low levels of satisfaction among the current users of mobile money services without an agent. Agent behavior and service parameters – such as dishonest dealings or the ability to perform transactions – are key concerns with mobile money agents. It is perhaps here, then, where the mobile money ecosystem can be strengthened in DRC. Agents, with their unparalleled reach, can both educate and reassure customers of the benefits of mobile money – but to do so they need to be seen as trustworthy and efficient.
Read more about DRC and ways to encourage mobile money usage in the Ericsson ConsumerLab report Financial Services for Everyone with data based on the responses of 6,215 participants aged 17–59 years.
Today we feature a post first published on the Ericsson’s Mobile Services blog.