Apr 30, 2014

Success and Struggles of Mobile Money Agents in Tanzania

Since the launch of mobile money in Tanzania five years ago, the country has witnessed exponential growth with ‘less than 1% of the adult population having access to mobile financial services in 2008, to 90% access by September 2013’. The country is now on the cusp on the next stage of evolution, integrating banks into the ecosystem, and offering services like merchant payments at retail stores.  However, for Tanzania to continue to push the frontier of mobile money, it will have to also take a hard look at some of the compromises providers have had to make on the quality of agent operations to reach such impressive scale so quickly.

Strong in the belief that strategic agent network management is the key to a successful digital financial services business model, The Helix Institute of Digital Finance has this week launched its Agent Network Accelerator – Tanzania Country Report, based on over 2,000 mobile money agent surveys carried out in 2013 all over the country. The survey covered all mobile money and agent banking providers in Tanzania, with a special focus on the country’s leading providers– Tigo Pesa, Vodacom and Airtel.  The report highlights the country’s factors for success in agent network management and what the industry needs to focus on in the next stages of development.

The Tanzania Report is The Helix Institute’s second country report on agent networks (Uganda Country Report released in January 2014), and is part of its cutting-edge Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) research project.

 ANA, a collaboration The Agent Network Accelerator – Tanzania Country Report (available for download at http://helix-institute.com/data-and-insights/coming-soon-agent-network-survey-tanzania-country-report-2013 ) finds that agents in general run a healthy business, with just under 50% earning at least $US 100 per month, but still face issues with liquidity management,  service downtime and fraud.  The research also unveils the challenges that come with being a competitive market in rapid growth, with significant opportunities for providers to improve on their agent selection, product offerings and geographical spread into the rural areas. Read the report in full to understand the successes and struggles of Tanzania’s mobile money agents in more detail.