BANK of Zambia (BoZ) Governor Dr Denny Kalyalya says transactions via the mobile money wallet account platform have grown exponentially, posting an annual average growth of 126 per cent in value from K2.07 billion processed in 2015 to K49.45 billion in 2019.
Speaking during the launch of the Zambia Digital Economy Diagnostic Report in Lusaka, Wednesday, Dr Kalyalya said actively transacting mobile wallets increased from eight per cent in 2016 to 34 per cent by the end of last year.
“The number of active mobile money wallets has increased over time. As at end-2016, a total of 6,513,725 mobile wallets were registered, and of these, 521,098 were actively transacting (meaning on average a transaction being conducted in 90 days), representing eight per cent of the total registered wallets. As at end-2019, 14,270,705 mobile money wallets were registered and 4,852,040 were actively transacting, representing 34 per cent of the total registered mobile money wallets,” Dr Kalyalya said. “On the whole, digital financial services have recorded significant growth, with mobile money payments posting an annual average growth of 126 per cent in value from K2.07 billion processed in 2015 to K49.45 billion processed in 2019. Transactions through Point of Sale machines increased from K3.04 billion in 2015 to K20.09 billion in 2019. This represents a leap of 560 per cent in values of transaction over a four-year period. From these statistics, it can clearly be demonstrated that there is great potential in Zambia to have more people financially included through digital channels and, ultimately, in the digital economy.”
He added that the retail payment system had been positively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with values processed through the mobile channel peaking at K7.80 billion in April, 2020.
Dr Kalyalya noted that there was, however, need for stakeholders to work together to ensure that cybersecurity risk, identity theft, and the financial and the technology literacy gap were bridged to realize the full potential of digital financial services.
“In order to realize the full potential of digital financial services and increased financial inclusion, it is imperative for stakeholders to continue working together to overcome emerging challenges, notably, cybersecurity risk, identity theft, and the financial and technology literacy gap. We, therefore, need to institute stringent measures to safeguard the digital space, protect customer identity, and implement fully the National Strategy on Financial Education 2019-2025,” said Dr Kalyalya.
And speaking at the same event, World Bank Group Zambia country manager Dr Sahr Kpundeh said the report should be followed by action.
Dr Kpundeh further said the country should develop a digital transformation strategy that could merge with the Eighth National Development Plan, and accordingly establish a multi-sectoral committee that discussed priorities and monitors progress overtime.