Mobile money services boost employment for Zambian youth

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Young people work in mobile money booths in Lusaka, Zambia, on March 17, 2021. The mobile phone communication services industry has over the years provided a host of employment opportunities across Africa through its range of services. Among the opportunities created by the industry are mobile money services, which involve the electronic receipt, transfer, and storage of money using a cellular phone. (Photo by Lillian Banda/Xinhua)
Young people work in mobile money booths in Lusaka, Zambia, on March 17, 2021. (Photo by Lillian Banda/Xinhua)

The mobile phone communication services industry has over the years provided a host of employment opportunities across Africa through its range of services.

Among the opportunities created by the industry are mobile money services, which involve the electronic receipt, transfer, and storage of money using a cellular phone.

In Zambia, mobile phone network companies work with agents who also employ youths. These young people can be seen working from booths, which are often found at street turn and trading place.

The main role of the young people is to help clients deposit or withdraw cash as well as send money to others. They also guide clients on how to register for mobile money services.

While some are on a fixed salary, many of them work on a commission basis with many getting as much as 40 percent of the profits realized.

Twenty-year-old Martha Chileshe who operates near a busy shopping mall in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital revealed that she gets about 1500 to 2000 kwacha (about 68 to 90 U.S. dollars) per month.

“Working on commission basis pushes one to work harder because you know that your input determines your pay. I was once on fixed pay and it was far much less than what I get now,” she explained.

Most of the youths interviewed explained that working for mobile money business has enabled them to provide for their immediate basic needs as well as to set aside some money for college or business.

Prisca Banda, aged 19, who operates in the Chibombo district, central Zambia explained that working at a mobile money services point has accorded her a chance to devise plans of launching her own businesses.

“I am currently working on establishing my own business. This is an opportunity for me to plan for my business ventures,” Banda said.

And Mildred Mutale, a mobile money agent who has employed about 10 youths said there exists great opportunities in mobile money services that youths can exploit such as becoming direct agents of mobile money services companies.

Mutale added that with formal jobs becoming increasingly scarce, mobile money services continue to provide employment opportunities for many Zambian youths in both rural and urban areas of the country.

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