Digital money problems

Kenya’s Mobile Money Agents Aided Financial Inclusion—Now They Face Exclusion

By  |  November 1, 2022

In Ruiru, a town in Kiambu County which sits within the greater Nairobi Metropolitan region and boasts the fourth-largest urban centre in Kenya, Sheila is one of many mobile money agents all over town. Business has not been as good for her and her peers in recent years, she says.

"There are now so many of us [agents] now, a lot of agent shops opened during the Covid-19 period,"  she told WT. "And the rise of merchant payments after Covid has greatly reduced the need to withdraw money and have cash, you can pay for Matatu, Boda Boda, and grocery all direct to merchants, from as low as ten shillings."

Sheila, like Momanyi and Bonnie; two other mobile money shop owners who spoke to WT, say it's hard to make enough money from the business these days as its main source of earnings - primarily commissions from deposits and withdrawals - is dwindling, triggered by realities that suggest the pie is getting smaller as agent shops proliferate while cash-in/cash-out (CICO) transaction...

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