For Zambia’s digital financial services industry, 2018 saw growth in the number of active DFS account users, growth in the number of agents nationwide and growth in the number of products available to customers. These indicators of growth in the industry are findings in the Annual Provider Survey (APS), which UNCDF has conducted for over three years, and which UNCDF and Bank of Zambia compiled into the State of the Zambia DFS Industry 2018 Report.
Our 2018 Report revealed that 18 DFS providers operated in Zambia, the same as the previous year, and though no new products were launched in the year, the majority of providers considered DFS a commercially sustainable side of their business. This year, 85% of providers continuously increased investment in their technical and organisational capacity, and providers dedicated more than 72% of their DFS staff to agent network management, further illustrating how meaningful these services are to providers.
Another interesting trend in 2018 was with regards to agents: the number of active agents in Zambia’s DFS ecosystem was reported to be 46,781 nationwide, an increase of 104% from 2017. The growth in number of agents is critical to increasing access to DFS, however, the challenges within the 11 agent networks exhibited in 2018 may inhibit that access and further industry growth. The major challenges identified were agent activity level, agent transaction volumes and agent commissions.
These and other findings are available in the full 2018 Report available for download.