Mobile banking boosts access to basic banking services

By Edith Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia

Ecobank Zambia says it sees mobile banking as a tool for boosting access levels to basic banking services in the country.

Lauzi Mwamba, Ecobank Zambia’s head of mobile banking, said the increased rate of mobile phone penetration together with the bank's focus on mobile banking is expected to drive the growth in the country's financial sector.

Zambia's mobile user penetration has been on an increase with an estimated 8.2 million subscribers on the mobile phone operators-MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel. Airtel is the country’s largest operator with slightly above 4 million subscribers followed by MTN that has just above 3 million customers.

Mwamba told delegates at the recent Celpay Zambia fourth annual mobile banking conference in Lusaka of the importance of focusing on mobile banking to augment efforts aimed at getting more people to access financial services in the country.

She said because the use of mobile banking allows customers at the bottom end of the pyramid to have access to basic banking services through the mobile phone, more local people are expected to have access to basic financial services.

According to the local Zambia Daily mail newspaper, Mwamba observed that mobile penetration has far exceeded banking penetration and therefore the introduction of mobile banking allows more people to have access to basic banking.

"The mobile revolution is here and is changing the world. It is up to us to embrace it and explore its many offerings to create the growth we are all looking for," the paper quoted Mwamba.

 She said for Ecobank, mobile banking is clearly seen as the most efficient model for driving banking transactions and scaling them to millions of customers rapidly.

"The unbanked customers are seen as the key demand driver for Ecobank Mobile because mobile banking is an affordable and reliable means of providing access to financial services to the unbanked in the urban as well as the rural areas of Zambia,” added Mwamba.

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