Monday, August 30, 2010

CEO Update - Monday August 30

Hi everyone,

Mobile Transactions had another week of progress and of course a few challenges.

We successfully disbursed 78 Harmos microfinance loans through our Lusaka champion agents. Harmos is an MFI that was set up as part of World Vision's "Vision Fund" and was Mobile Transactions' first MFI partner. We are ramping up with them to process all of their Lusaka disbursements this week and then rolling out to the Copperbelt and Southern Province. We are also targeting September to launch loan repayments through our agent network.

We processed 269 Dunavant salary payments to their banked employees. We are now processing Dunavant's entire banked payroll country wide except for the Eastern Province, and expect to achievethat milestone in September.

Vouchers also had their best week ever, with 6,964 redemptions. This is related to more efficient voucher distributions from WFP implementing partners. The Conservation Farming Unit (CFU) came online with voucher redemptions thanks to Hans' hard work, and we are targeting a September 10 launch date for Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) input vouchers.

Both Mobile Transactions and our agents realised a 5% increase in gross profit after changing our money transfer pricing in July. Money transfer numbers were down last week as compared to the last, primarily due to our Lusaka champion agents running into liquidity constraints. Graham and his team are working hard to address this and have signed up some new cash wholesale agents to come online this week.

We signed up the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project (ZHERP) as a new payments customer at the end of last week. Mobile Transactions will be providing a payment solution for ZHERP's 140 banked staff and over 500 unbanked community health volunteers.

And perhaps the biggest news of all: the Bank of Zambia confirmed that we could go ahead with our MaKwacha agent brand! We had received initial approval from BOZ but then noticed Zain had changed their new mobile account flyers to the same name. Before we even notified the BOZ, they informed us that they have asked Zain to change their name to something else because we were using it first and had asked their permission. This shows the strength of our relationship with BOZ, and how constructive they have been regulating the emerging mobile payments industry in Zambia.

The challenge will now be to increase the liquidity of our agent network to support more payouts. Brad and I are focused on signing up new customers and driving transactions, while the agents and operations team led by Graham, Dave, and Teddy have their work cut out for them to keep pace! We have a strong agent value proposition and the agent team needs to roll up their sleeves and hit the pavement to bring on more, better agents, and ensure they are properly trained and managed.

Finally, Mobile Transactions was featured in the Corporate Social Responsibility report for NEXT, our key partner on the Dunavant project in the East. You can read about us by clicking the link below and downloading the report (see page 17).

I wish everyone a focused, productive week.



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