Agents Count: The True Size of Agent Networks in Leading Digital Finance Countries
44 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2017
Date Written: February 17, 2017
This paper lays out a framework for understanding agent network size in an ecosystem, drawing the distinction between agent tills and agent outlets and discussing agent activity rates. We argue that the number of active agent outlets represents a more appropriate measure access to finance than agent till statistics, commonly used by regulators and the industry. We then propose a simple methodology for calculating this figure in five leading digital finance markets: Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda. The total number of agent outlets in these countries is roughly half that of agent tills, while active agent outlets amount to a quarter thereof. Our calculations align closely with existing agent censuses. These findings suggest that the use of agent till statistics in industry literature has led to an overestimation of global access to finance. We also compare the number of active outlets to adult population, customer, and agency business data to propose industry benchmarks for the number of agents and customer to agent ratios providers may target.
Keywords: Digital Finance, Mobile Money, Agent Banking, Fintech, Agent Networks, Finance, Technology
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