Agent Banking has grown to about 9,477 agents spread across the country since it was launched slightly about a year and a half ago, according to Bank of Uganda deputy governor Louis Kasekende.
Speaking during the World Saving Day celebrations in Kampala yesterday, Dr Kasekende said, under the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2017-2022), which seeks to have all Ugandans access and use a broad range of quality and affordable financial services, the banking industry has seen some innovations such agent banking which have registered tremendous growth over the period.
“The implementation of the strategy has thus far led to:
the rollout of Agent Banking [which currently has] 9,477 agents spread across the country as at end September 2019,” he said, noting that the system seeks to provide access and convenience to savers.
Agent Banking was launched in April 2018 with the view of easing access to financial services and enhancing financial inclusion.
Such innovations, he said, among others, such as operationalisation of Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority and the anticipated integration of financial literacy as a subject in the secondary curriculum effective 2020, will be key in enhancing and building a better savings sector for Ugandans and the banking industry.
Financial literacy, Dr Kasekende said, will help consumers of financial services to make informed decisions that will foster low-level community economic development as well as fighting poverty.
Whereas, there has been growth in the scope and number of financial service providers, penetration of financial services, especially in rural areas, continues to be low.
Thus, Dr Kasekende said, financial services providers must increase access to affordable and convenient products that can benefit the bulk of the population, especially the unserved and underserved segments.
He also said that the Central Bank has managed to hedge bank customers against losses by encouraging a deliberate plan to grow the Deposit Protection Fund, which by September, had grown from Shs3m per customer to Shs10m.
“All these [innovations seek to protect] the public against pyramid schemes, unregulated financial institutions and other financial schemes,” he said.
Government, together with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been pushing for the promotion of rural finance and inclusion as a key pillars toward fighting poverty.
This has been done through the Project for Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas (PROFIRA) with focus on the large portion of the rural population that has little or no access to financial services
Government, together with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been pushing for the promotion of rural financing and inclusion as a key pillar toward fighting poverty.