A new report by The Helix Institute of Digital Finance on mobile money agent networks, as part of its cutting-edge Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) research project indicates that mobile money agents in Uganda are pervasive and profitable but face large scale issues of fraud, service downtime and robbery.
Dubbed the Uganda Agent Network report, the report was carried out in collaboration between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MicroSave, is the largest research project on agent networks in the world, designed to determine what drives their success and scale.
According to the report, there seem to be significant opportunities for providers to expand the networks to rural areas far beyond the financial infrastructure, increase the quality of agent support, and offer more products at the agent level.
Kimathi Githachuri, Head of The Helix Institute of Digital Finance and former Head of Warid Pesa (before the acquisition by Airtel Uganda), said, “The insights from Helix’s Uganda Report are very critical and present some unique findings which will assist us to develop standards and best practices leading to scalable and profitable models for building agent networks around the world.”
The report is based on over 2,000 mobile money agent surveys carried out in 2013 all over the country and focuses on the country’s factors for success in agent network management and what the industry needs to focus on in the next stages of development.
Helix says it will use the findings in the reports in its training courses offered through The Helix Institute of Digital Finance, the first training institute explicitly designed to equip industry leaders with effective strategies and powerful tools to build, manage, and grow mobile money agent networks in their respective markets.
Uganda is among eight African and Asian countries participating in the world-class research project, selected for their contribution to the development of digital financial services globally. The other African countries surveyed in the four-year project include Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. In Asia the countries to be surveyed are India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Tanzania and Kenya reports are scheduled to be released in the coming months, with data from Bangladesh due after that.