The potential of mobile savings in Malawi
  • April 10, 2014

In Malawi, Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) is supporting banks and mobile network operators interested in developing or improving innovative savings products for the poor. In this effort MM4P commissioned in partnership with FinMark Trust a study to investigate the various saving mechanisms currently used by the poor and to identify the main challenges and opportunities for the expansion of savings. This study, undertaken by Oxford Policy Management Ltd. in association with Kadale Consultants Ltd., was also conducted in Lesotho and South Africa.

Mobile money services have only recently been introduced in Malawi and mainly consist of money transfers (i.e., person-to-person). These services can evolve rapidly to satisfy a latent demand for financial products, especially savings products.

The study reveals that a striking 74 percent of savers in Malawi primarily save in cash by keeping their money hidden at home or in a secret place. At the same time, most respondents do not consider home a safe place to save. Saving at a bank is the second most common response and the most trusted choice for savers in Malawi; however, less than a quarter of respondents have access to a bank account from a formal financial institution.

To learn more about the challenges and opportunities for saving among low-income individuals in Malawi please read MM4P highlights for Malawi. For the full report on Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities in Promoting Savings among Low Income Individuals in Lesotho, Malawi and South Africa please click here.