Just out: An ethnographic study on mobile money attitudes, perceptions and usages in Cameroon, Congo DRC, Senegal and Zambia

The final results of the research project 'Ethnographic Study on Mobile Money in Africa' has just been published. The project was financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as part of the MasterCard Foundation Partnership for Financial Inclusion. The project is a comparative ethnographic study into the usage, perceptions and attitudes towards digital financial services (DFS) in four selected countries: Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Senegal and Zambia. The results presented give a voice to users of DFS, giving insight into why people are motivated to use DFS and why they might not be using specific mobile phone-related monetary transfer systems. They also contextualize these motivations through a cultural understanding and reveal that the specific socio-economic and political contexts in which monetary transfer systems function play an important role in the decisions consumers make.

The report provides an in-depth description of what digital financial inclusion means in relation to social and cultural factors. One of the findings relates to how digital payments interact with extended family structures and financial obligations within social networks. Some DFS users have found, for example, that the immediate accessibility of mobile transactions makes it difficult for them to escape unwanted solicitations for financial aid from distant family members. “Now, with the development of money transfers, whenever a family member asks for money, you need to make it clear - either you have money or you don't. You can no longer claim you can’t get it to them because if you say that, the person will answer that you should send it by Wari, Joni-Joni, etc.,” a policeman and DFS service user in Louga, Senegal, told the researchers.