IFC & The MasterCard Foundation invest $1m into Zambia’s payments firm Zoona


IFC together with The MasterCard Foundation will invest $1 million into payments service provider Zoona to strengthen the reach and depth of its mobile banking services for low-income people, small-scale entrepreneurs and rural populations in Zambia where only about a third of the adult population has access to formal financial services.

Launched in Zambia in 2009, Zoona is the country’s leading payments service provider through its mobile money platform, money transfers and financial services to low-income consumers through its network of over 1,500 mobile money agents.

“This project will help Zoona expand its work to increase financial inclusion in Africa,” said Lelemba Phiri, Chief Marketing Officer at Zoona.

IFC will provide advisory services for three years to assist Zoona to develop and roll out a new mobile wallet solution that will allow customers to store and send money, with the aim to reach 300,000 new customers.

The project is part of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a $37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance digital financial services in sub-Saharan Africa. Part of Zoona’s unique approach is its commitment to co-developing products with the communities it serves, and this approach will be used for its new mobile wallet product.

Last year, the firm raised $15 million in a second round of financing led by the International Finance Corporation to scale up its operations to reach 10 markets and 30 million active consumers across Africa by 2020.