Mobile Money: Operators lobby for flexible identification rules for undocumented residents

Top Stories

 (Business in Cameroon) - In Cameroon, Mobile Money operators are calling for flexible identification rules to allow users without official Identification documents to have access to some basic services.

“Operators suggested (…) a simple dual identification system [for people without identification documents]. With that type of identification, they will be able to access basic services (deposits and withdrawals) till they are able to submit the required identification documents,” said Frédéric Debord, CEO of Orange Cameroon, during a press briefing on July 5, 2021, in Yaoundé.

Up till the said users are able to provide the identity documents for formal identification, they can only deposit and withdraw small amounts, the operators suggest according to a note. For Frédéric Debord, the current inflexibility towards the presentation of official identity documents before the opening of mobile money accounts could affect financial inclusion in the country. To illustrate his hypothesis, the CEO explains that a whole part of the Cameroonian population, in remote areas notably, is currently marginalized because they do not have official identification documents even though they are in economic circuits.

“Nowadays, identification constraints are higher with new instructions on the operations of the payment incident management center. Some of the data required by the center are not on the national identity card,” Frédéric Debord added.

Currently, according to the country’s monetary authorities, in Cameroon, the bank penetration rate is just 12%. In its 2020-2030 national development strategy, the country intends to increase that rate to 80%.

 Sylvain Andzongo