By: Almeira Paruque, FSDMoç Analyst
A new day begins in Mozambique and different groups of young people gather around markets, mall entrances, crowded squares and streets around the country to perform the duties of an M-Pesa promoter. They must convince the next customer to open an M-Pesa account and, through it, start using new or additional financial services.
The 16th of August of 2018 would represent a normal workday for the M-Pesa promoters assigned to Xiquelene market, Aeroporto A neighborhood and Adelina market (all in Maputo city), if not for the visit of a team of representatives of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) and the Financial Sector Deepening Mozambique (FSDMoç), invited by Vodafone M-Pesa, to participate on a field trip named ‘‘A day as an M-Pesa promoter’’.
Following its success story in Kenya, M-Pesa was commercially launched in Mozambique in May 16, 2013, allowing cash transfers through mobile phones. The field trip came in the context of the M-Pesa’s Mobile Money Uptake intervention co-funded by FSDMoç, that started in 2016, with the objective to expand the scope and reach of the approach to development and financial inclusion in Mozambique, through an above the line (mass media) and below the line (one-on-one interactions) financial education strategy.
‘FSD Mozambique has funded Vodafone M-Pesa, allowing M-Pesa to hire more promoters and thus acquire more customers and campaign that changed the way people perceive the service’ Vodafone M-Pesa
This partnership has been contributing to attaining FSDMoc’s objectives to support the creation and/or improved financial services, while promoting greater financial inclusion in Mozambique, and during the past two years, it has supported M-Pesa to double the number of promoters and clients distributed throughout the country (both at provincial and district levels), accelerating financial inclusion of previously excluded and deepening of the already included individuals that started using new or additional/improved financial services through M-Pesa.
The field trip intended to give participants a better understanding of the work promoters do as part of their day-to-day activities, in educating potential customers on M-Pesa offerings and allocate them to a nearby agent, as well as provide an experience about the intervention’s accomplishments, challenges and impact on customers.
A day as an M-Pesa promoter entailed working with different promoters in groups of two, to (1) hunt customers around Xiquelene market, (2) visit the women’s forum at Aeroporto A, where M-Pesa promoters interact with the audience on objectives, the impact of services, opening accounts and providing assistance to mobile transactions issues, and (3) participate in the awareness activity at the Adelina market, designed to promote accounts’ activations and present the M-Pesa concept.
Being an M-Pesa promoter means competing while collaborating with colleagues to achieve the established daily target of 9 clients per promoter, being attentive to people’s willingness and attitudes towards the services, entertaining and possessing good interpersonal skills to manage different opinions, expectations and complaints. Hence, living by trial and error.
‘I like working as an M-Pesa promoter and have been doing so for the past three years. I see that many things have been changing and improving by solving issues raised by clients’ M-Pesa promoter
M-Pesa promoters must be always informed about the services’ latest developments and are expected to report on challenges and complaints. For instance, the new clients daily target is not always met, and concerns raised by customers include the occasional lack of system, blocked accounts due to forgotten pins, and suspended accounts as a result of clients reaching annual receivable amount limit.
All things considered, the M-Pesa promoter’s activities have proved to be highly effective in reaching objectives, through one-on-one interactions, taking place within a friendly and happy environment entertained by speakers, music and dance, which has served the promoters well in showcasing their services to the public, who on their end, see it as an opportunity to relax and interact with peers while solving their daily mobile transactions issues.