Elizabeth Wanja runs a mobile money agent business as her main source of income for her young family. Her business is solely reliant on Safaricom’s Mpesa service. During one of our design thinking sessions, we met Elizabeth to discuss her success, pain points and general experiences. Here is a recap of her story.
“Starting a mobile money agent business was a way of generating income to compliment my husband’s earnings. My motivation was based on the fact that through generating my own income, I would have more control on my financial life thus contributing towards providing a better life for our children in terms of education, clothing, and food.”
Mobile money has changed thousands of Kenyan households by providing business and employment opportunities. A recently published study found that the increased access to mobile money has impacted Kenya through poverty reduction particularly for female-headed households. This outcome can be ascertained to the increasing reach of mobile money across all corners of the nation. By the end of 2018, there were 198,234 mobile money agents in Kenya, an aspect that has greatly increased the industry’s competitiveness. Competition has further dwindled agents’ earnings through their monthly commissions. Lack of sufficient float and increased competitiveness have largely affected women-owned agency business such as that of Elizabeth through reduced productivity and diminished earnings.
Elizabeth and a majority of women that have ventured into mobile money agency business have been met with inherent limitations. These limitations, as we discovered, are majorly due to insufficient capital. More so, having insufficient float has led to agents such as Elizabeth disappointing their customers with the slogan “sina float” a Swahili phrase meaning “I do not have sufficient float.” Two years down the line, Elizabeth runs her agency business insufficiently and as a result, she has not been able to grow as she had anticipated.
Elizabeth explains, “I have not been able to fully achieve these dreams as I do not have sufficient float or cash and the banks are not willing to provide financial aid to grow my business.”
“Mobile money business was meant to be a progressive business, I even saw myself providing employment to other women down the line. It is really disappointing and heartbreaking to turn away customers because I don’t have enough float. To make matters worse, ever since I first started my operations, six more Mpesa outlets have been opened in close proximity to my business. The only option I have had for replenishing my float is traveling 3 km to Mlolongo town center to the banks. Closing down my business for this purpose has been inconsiderable besides the issue of ferrying money due to insecurity issues.”
“I registered with PesaKit two months ago and I interact with your virtual assistant daily, I also regularly use your float on-demand product. I have since not been worried about float challenges, I no longer tell my customers “sina float”, infact, my slogan now is “float iko” (Swahili phrase for “I have sufficient float”). I am currently serving more customers and the customers are quite loyal to my agent outlet. I know that through using PesaKit’s virtual assistant, I will continue being more competitive and my income will increase over time. Every woman running a Mpesa agent business in Kenya should register with PesaKit so that we can all grow together and contribute to our economy.”
What is PesaKit?
PesaKit is an AI-powered virtual assistant (chatbot) for mobile money agents. The chatbot helps agents to know, manage, and control their liquidity (e-float and cash) through predictive analytics by forecasting their needs for the next hour, day, week or month.
We are glad to be powering Elizabeth’s business run smoothly and energised to know the more our platform becomes intelligent the more accelerated financial inclusion will be. We are also optimistic that our technology will help Elizabeth achieve her goals of increased financial resilience and providing employment opportunities to other women.
PesaKit is currently registering agents across Kenya. Please follow the link below and register to the smart agent app. Registration Link: http://crm.pesakit.co.ke/forms/wtl/f523d88061a77b5259770e07941bffe8