BY BYRON MUTINGWENDE
HARARE – The use of mobile money has greatly revolutionized the financial services sector by promoting financial inclusion of the previously unbanked population, a senior government official has said.
In his opening remarks at the inaugural Mobile Money and Digital Payments Conference and Awards ceremony held at Meikles Hotel on Monday (today), Supa Mandiwanzira, the minister of information communication technology, postal and courier services said mobile money had changed the outlook of the financial services sector.
“Money transfers, which for a long time have been the preserve of banking institutions and multinational money transfer firms, have since been greatly transformed by the emergence of mobile money and digital banking, resulting in the creation of massive opportunities that have trickled to impact on the livelihoods of individuals even in the remotest of all places where traditional banking models cannot reach,” Mandiwanzira said.
He said past studies and trends indicate that e-commerce has been growing, and that mobile e-commerce is expected to get a great response from the public because of its convenience and ease of access.
The development has made it possible for Hammer and Tongues Auctioneers to move into online retailing in partnership with large retailers like OK Supermarket.
“M-commerce has dramatically changed the way brands reach customers, making it faster and easier for consumers to make purchases in comfort while avoiding the hustle and bustle of high street. As M-commerce gains popularity as a shopping platform, it becomes especially important for merchants to deliver uniquely tailored mobile experiences in sync with a person’s lifestyle,” Mandiwanzira said.
Mandiwanzira said that as the cost of mobile devices continues to drop lower, more customers would have access to m-commerce ecosystem. He said digital payments have many benefits to both senders and receivers.
The benefits include making payments more efficient by lowering the cost of disbursing and receiving payments; increasing individuals’ risk management capacity; increasing the security of payments as well as providing a first entry point into the formal financial system.
Mobile money has created over 40, 000 jobs countrywide in the form of mobile money transfer agents and downstream feeder economic activitiesd.