Mobile Money Agents: Sustainability in a digital era – Findings from Côte d’Ivoire
Agent networks remain the sector’s backbone, digitising over USD 500 million per day in 2020. Mobile money agents play an essential role in enabling unbanked and underbanked populations access financial services, thanks to their relatively more robust geographic reach than the traditional banking system.
However, several factors challenge agents and their much-needed network in the future, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, while the number of agents keeps growing consistently, the number of active agents has been growing faster than the combined value of cash-in and cash-out transactions, upon which agent revenue depends (via commissions). This suggests that individual agent revenues could deteriorate if the trend carries on. Other challenges in the region, such as a decrease in withdrawal fees in several markets, could also result in reduced agent commissions. Lastly, the increased digitisation of transactions in mature markets, could also be perceived as a potential threat to agent activity.