Zain Group, the leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces the publication of its annual thought leadership report, this year entitled, ‘Saving Lives by Empowering People through Zain Cash’.
The report launched during the 2018 Mobile World Congress Barcelona, showcases how Zain Cash, a dynamic and life enhancing mobile banking service, impacts and transforms people’s lives, particularly those of the most vulnerable in society. The report draws much of its primary data from examples found in Iraq, with NGOs and humanitarian aid agencies being key Zain Cash users.
It is estimated that 89% of Iraq’s adult population does not possess a bank account, though the great majority of these unbanked adults own a mobile phone. Many adults have begun to use their phones beyond just voice and text messaging, to include activities such as sending and receiving payments and other transactions.
The report highlights how shared value and value creation should drive a company’s strategy when developing offerings for a market, as it helps sustain the business by creating new ways to achieve economic success. ‘Saving Lives by Empowering People through Zain Cash’ examines how this application is an example of the strong link that exists between Zain’s core commercial activity and the transformational impact that this service has on people’s lives.
Commenting on the publication of the company’s latest report, Zain Group Vice-Chairman and CEO, Bader Al-Kharafi commented, “The global spread of mobile technology has elevated society’s expectations and demands for an accessible, user-friendly, fast, and effective tool for conducting financial transactions. With its broad scope, rich portfolio and wide range of services, Zain Cash responds to these needs as it plays an instrumental role in empowering individuals by providing everyone with a smartphone access to safe and reliable mobile financial services.”
Mr Al Kharafi continued, “Iraq is a special and unique case given the instability it has endured for nearly a decade and a half now. Iraqis are proud and industrious people, and in many ways mobile communications has been one of their greatest tools of recovery in this period. We are immensely proud to operate in the country, and we are gratified to see the positive impact innovations such as Zain Cash have had on the lives of millions of regular citizens.”
Jennifer Suleiman, Zain Group’s Head of Corporate Sustainability said, “At Zain, we remain committed in addressing various developmental issues as we firmly believe in being an inclusive business that provides tangible value for the communities we serve and beyond. Our goal is to foster prosperity and truly align to the Sustainable Development Goals in the hope that we all live prosperous lives. This latest report speaks to the versatility of the Iraqi people, and their ability to make more of their circumstances when offered an opportunity to Zain Cash has so many positive knock-on effects for society that we feel compelled to continue expanding its reach and applications so that a greater number of Iraqis may gain access to it and benefit from it.”
Yazen Altimimi, CEO of Zain Cash Iraq said, “We understand the increasing importance of mobile phones and Zain Cash’s unique value proposition consisting of a nationwide mobile coverage, an extensive agent’s network that extends to camp areas, and ability to transfer instantly to suffered individuals made our efforts valuable for many communities across Iraq, especially in disaster relief. Our capabilities have led us to join forces with key NGOs to overcome a shared challenge, with humanitarian agencies hailing the model for its quick delivery, higher transparency and control, and cost effectiveness.”
To gather critical insights that could be used to analyze, assess and grasp the transformational aspect of the mobile banking service with the aim to increase Zain’s responsiveness to any rising issue or concern and for insights to increasing its widespread acceptance, the Zain Cash team identified potential users, created and circulated questionnaires to material stakeholders. These stakeholders included the Central Bank of Iraq; local point of sales and retailers; service and utility providers; NGOs and Aid agencies; refugees and internally displaced people; and various Ministries.
The findings of the questionnaire will see Zain Cash increase its point of sales network, increasing the capacity of the platform to accept more users, and create more awareness and invest more resources in educating the public on mobile banking and banking in general as most of the population are unaware of the logistics of banking.
Mobile money and digital payments methods are critical enablers in achieving several of the targets that fall under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Through this agenda, governments, corporations, NGOs, and civil society can all come together to help put the whole world on a more prosperous and sustainable development path. Mobile money can be linked to 11 out of the 17 goals as it promotes a more inclusive financial ecosystem.
Financial inclusion has proven to be an effective means for reducing poverty and minimizing the gap between the poorest and wealthiest segments in society. By providing access to financial services to unbanked populations, a social and economic transformation can materialize in that specific society.