Growing Digital Financial Inclusion in Zambia


In 2014, Mastercard Foundation and UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) formed a partnership to try to replicate and scale a model that had found success in the Pacific region – taking a market development approach to increasing digital financial inclusion. Through the partnership, UNCDF was able to expand the Mobile Money for the Poor programme (MM4P) and test frameworks created in the Pacific in markets that were not yet “on the map”.

The Mastercard Foundation and UNCDF chose to work in three countries in West and Southern Africa – Benin, Senegal, and Zambia – all with very low digital financial services (DFS) usage rates.
The numbers tell a story of great success: Benin has seen DFS usage rates increase from 2% to 40%, Senegal from 13% to 29%, and Zambia from 4% to 44%. But lift under the “hood” of the numbers and you will see the lives of millions of people who are now financially included that weren’t five years ago.

In Zambia Elase was trapped in the cash economy with little options to save and transfer money safely. As she started using mobile money, she began to save in order to establish an agent booth. Today, she is a thriving mobile money agent managing four booths and several tellers. She was able to grow her business after receiving a non-collateral loan from FINCA, a project partner of the programme. She is growing as an entrepreneur and feels empowered in her professional and personal life, providing business advice to her clients and contributing to her household needs.

You may find out more about Elase's story, our work and approach on the market as well as the lessons we have learned in our report “Growing digital financial inclusion in Zambia”. You may also watch our video about her story in Zambia.

UNCDF released three other reports. Read also "Five Years of Market Development in Benin, Senegal and Zambia (2015-2019)", “Growing digital financial inclusion in Benin” and “Growing digital financial inclusion in Senegal”.