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Zambia's digital financial services burdened by inactive accounts

Zambia's digital financial services burdened by inactive accounts

A report by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has revealed that over 70% of registered digital financial services accounts in Zambia are inactive - despite substantial growth in the number of registered accounts.

According to the 2018 State of the Zambian Digital Financial Services (DFS) accounts report, Zambia has 16.5 million registered accounts, but only 4.3 million are active.

The report makes a comparison between 2018 figures and those of 2014, and said the country currently has a total of 18 service providers and 46, 000 active agents compared to 7 service providers, 2, 730 active agents and 333, 000 active accounts in 2014.

UNCDF regional technical specialist Nandini Harihareswara attributed the high number of inactive DFS accounts to, among other things, a lack of increased consumer education and customer incentives focused on driving usage.

Harihareswara said this should worry service providers, specifically around the need to improve service delivery.

"Zambia's DFS market has continued to show positive growth across various indicators as the number of active DFS accounts are largely driven by the significant growth reported by mobile money service providers. While there is growth in the number of active accounts, overall customer inactivity still remains an issue for service providers," she said.

Dr Bwalya Ng'andu, Bank of Zambia deputy governor in charge of operations, added, "The provision of the DFS is proving to be an effective tool for achieving financial inclusion agenda as it uplifts the unbanked and the under-serviced across the country."