The evolution of agent networks in Africa
The evolution of agent networks in Africa27 March, 2019 •
Case study: Kenya
The majority of mobile-money flows continue to be dominated by cash-in and cash-out (CICO) transactions. This has led to the increasing belief that widely distributed networks of agents are essential access points for consumers, especially in rural and remote regions, to facilitate CICO needs.
It is accepted knowledge that providers struggle to identify rural agent network strategies that can accommodate both the consumer and the business case.
This report provides insights into how agent networks evolve within the context of these constraints by using geospatial data to map the location of agents relative to other cash points, as well as surrounding populations, between 2009 and 2015. Using Kenya as a key demonstration case study, this study explores three core questions:
- What growth strategies have agent networks deployed over time?
- How far have agent networks managed to increase the geographic reach of formal financial services?
- To what extent has the expansion of agents improved access to financial services for consumers?
The report concludes by providing short-, medium- and long-term recommendations that speak to the specific role of both financial service providers and regulators, or donors, to strengthen national cash management systems and digitise key value chains for the development of integrated digital financial service ecosystems.
This work forms part of the Risk, Remittances and Integrity programme, a partnership between FSD Africa and Cenfri.