Mobile money is rapidly spreading in East Africa, providing new opportunities for governments and NGOs to provide social transfers directly to beneficiaries, for individuals to access digital financial services, and to reduce transaction costs throughout the economy. However, the regulatory, availability of mobile money agents, fee structures, and other factors impact the relative attractiveness of mobile money for users and stakeholders.
From 2019-2020, USAID funded a CEGA/DIL research team in Rwanda to investigate the social impact of mobile money services among tea Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) members. The qualitative study looks at a payment automation project funded by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) that used mobile money platforms to automate banking services for two SACCOs. Researchers used interviews, diaries, and participant observations to explore the experiences of individual SACCO members in adopting mobile money services. The project provides a variety of insights into constraints to adoption of mobile money services, benefits for adoption for farmers, regulatory impacts on the mobile money ecosystem, and the effects of COVID-19 on individuals’ experiences with mobile money. The full report can be found here and the project policy brief can be found here.
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