The shift from cash payments to e-money is aimed at decreasing costs, accelerating economic growth and addressing poverty via financial inclusion and increasing transparency for the country.
Ken Lipenga, minister of finance, said various cash payment methods have been tried and tested, but it was too expensive and ran the risk of fraud.
“We aim at this point is to begin by reaching 21,000 people with payments of $3 million. Of course, we already know that transitioning isn’t easy, and that is why we are joining the Better Than Cash Alliance,” he said.
“We will be able to learn from other countries how best to handle the complexities of transition and ensure that not only the economy, but also the people benefit.”
The Better Than Cash Alliance is an initiative that was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, USAID, United Nations Capital Development Fund and Visa.
The Alliance works with governments, the private sector and the development community to help distribute resources to the poor.
It benefits them in financial inclusion and to make use of the electronic payment system which is easier.
The Alliance has commended Malawi’s leadership and commitment in taking the step to electronic payments and thus improving the lives of Malawians.
Ruth Goodwin-Groen, managing director of the Better Than Cash Alliance, said: “There are many benefits of electronic payments, but also challenges and these can best be tackled in partnerships. We welcome Malawi into the Better Than Cash Alliance and look forward to our partnership with them."