The Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has noticed that if there is one area where COVID-19 pandemic has had a positive impact is in the retail payment system.
BoZ Governor Dr. Denny Kalyalya says in the market, the Central Bank has seen the values processed through the mobile channel peaking at K7.80 billion in April 2020.
The Bank of Zambia Governor said this during the launch of the Zambia Digital Economy Diagnostic Report at Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka.
“The usage of digital channels for the delivery of payment and financial services has grown considerably. The majority of commercial banks have developed and deployed mobile applications that their customers use to access financial services. Similarly, 2 e-money issuers are capitalising on smart and ordinary mobile phones to offer financial services. 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 8% of the total registered wallets,” he said.
“As at end 2019, 14, 270, 705 mobile money wallets were registered and 4,852,040 were actively transacting, representing 34% of the total registered mobile money wallets. On the whole, digital financial services have recorded significant growth, with mobile money payments posting an annual average growth of 126% 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% in values of transaction over a four-year period.”
Dr. Kalyalya said the performance of other electronic payment streams, such as, the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) equally recorded remarkable growth, posting annual average growth of 35% in value from K21.83 billion processed in 2015 to K67.81 billion processed in 2019.
He further noted that 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.
Dr. Kalyalya also said 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. As I conclude, I want to urge all stakeholders to focus on harnessing the potential of financial inclusion through scaling up the uptake of ICT. This offers immense opportunities for providing essential financial services to our people. God bless us all,” said the BoZ Governor.