Payment Systems and Mobile Money in Malawi: Towards Financial Inclusion and Financial Integrity
Authors Sunduzwayo Madise
Affiliations: Attorney, High Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal; Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Malawi
Source: Africa Nazarene University Law Journal, 2014, Issue 2, p. 71 – 96
Malawi, like other African countries, has witnessed a recent surge in mobile phone usage. The increase in phone usage has been accompanied by an increase in mobile phone based products. Two such products in Malawi are Khusa M’manja (‘money in the hands’ in the local language) and Mpamba (money in the context of ‘start-up capital’ in the local language). These products, and the services they contain, allow the phone user to use his or her mobile phone as a wallet or purse: he or she can load money into the phone, send and receive money, make deposits and withdrawals, purchase goods and services, and pay bills. Khusa M’manja is provided by Airtel, while Mpamba is provided by Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM). Khusa M’manja and Mpamba may be said to be close relatives of M-Pesa, a financial service that was developed in Kenya by Safaricom. The introduction of M-Pesa has led to an increase in money circulation, roping in those who would otherwise have been left out by the formal financial sector. The mobile money platform has been lauded as an effective means of ensuring financial inclusion of the unbanked, which constitute a large proportion of Africa’s Sub-Saharan population. For many, therefore, the introduction of mobile money services into the national payment system is a welcome development. However, balancing between the competing interests of financial inclusion and financial integrity remains a serious challenge.