Unfortunately, in many ways the mobile money sector has been over-hyped. This has been very clear as PAYG solar energy providers are building models to reach clients in very rural areas, and are not finding mobile money services there to support the small frequent payments upon which their business models rely.
The truth is mobile money has struggled going rural everywhere, and countries in Africa have had very little success doing so outside of Kenya. Uganda and Tanzania are in the top five mobile money countries globally, which has drawn PAYG solar providers to set-up their systems there, however, even in these conducive environments, PAYG solar providers are reporting that mobile money services are just not rural enough to serve their needs.
Working with the the Bankable Frontier Associates (BFA) FIBR project, we advised PEG Ghana on how to create a payments solution in the rural areas they were targeting clients. However, doing so is much harder than just placing more payments points in rural areas. The solution involved fundamentally restructuring the sales channel to re-balance the quantity of their sales with the quality of their loan portfolio. As a component of this, we also re-imagined the profile of a rural mobile money agent, PEG’s role in facilitating payments, and ran a successful pilot.
We published some of the insights from the work in a article titled, Re-thinking Agents to Scale PAYG Businesses.