|GAWFA CEO, Dr Oley Njie-Mbye|
The Gambia Women Finance Association has introduced mobile banking system geared towards making mobile money transactions both easier and more available to its clients most of whom live in remote rural areas without access to traditional brick-and-mortar financial institutions.
The project, funded by the Spanish Cooperation Agency, an international agency fighting against poverty around the world, will reduce costs for Gawfa and increase customer convenience.
The 18-month project, approved by the funders in March this year, will help Gawfa’s clients to have improved access to Gawfa-offered financial services by allowing them to access their account with ease and comfort at the place they (the clients) want it.
With this project, Gawfa uses technology to overcome the barriers of geography and low population density to deliver financial services at low cost across the country.
The representative of the Spanish Cooperation Agency in The Gambia, Alfredo Gadea, says the project will enhance Gawfa operations at a reduced cost, as Gawfa agents will get to the clients with the mobile device and help them to conduct transactions on their accounts.
“Gawfa agents will have all the information of the clients in the mobile device but transaction can only be effected with the finger print of the clients,” he explained.
At the end of the project, Gawfa will have its own fully operational mobile banking system running that will improve their efficiency and effectiveness at a lower cost, Mr Gadea said.
Antoni Lopez Burruezo, technical manager of Towerplane Advanced Projects, a Spanish company that focuses on real time communication and system management, which will also be in charge of the technological aspect of the mobile banking project, said with this project, all the agents of Gawfa will be connected to a central system that will enable them to have access to information updated on at real time.
“We will be using Android application for the mobile agents in the field to connect to the internet using the handset with our applications so that they can access the system online and the central management will have all the information updated real time from all the agents in the field. This will optimize resources for Gawfa so that they can monitor, update instructions, and also have full control of all the movement of money.
In her statement, Gawfa’s Chief Executive Officer Oley Njie-Mbye said the project will help to reduce fraud, and strengthen the control mechanism of Gawfa, which is one of the challenges the finance institution is grappling with.
“With this technology, our productivity will be increased and also it will strengthen our financial management system thus ensure that our funds are in proper control hence reduce fraud,” Dr Mbye said.
The project “will boost staff morale and client confidence” because the mobile device works similarly like the biometric in the sense that the clients will have their fingerprint on the device before any transaction can take place on their account.
The security of the system is guaranteed and assured, according to the Gawfa boss, who also said the project will help the institution to grow to reach its mission of offering innovative financial services that contributes to lasting economic and social benefits for low-income Gambian women and their families.
The project is in line with Gawfa’s slogan, which says: “You don’t have to go to the river; the river will come to you.” It is believed the project will help clients to be in control of their accounts with ease and comfort and at their own convenient time and place, because the agents will be going out to the clients with the mobile device to help clients to effect transactions on their account.