Ecobank Mali offered a US NGO a means to distribute resources (cash, food, etc) to beneficiaries in rural locations using digital solutions designed to provide an efficient, secure distribution with full reporting capabilities. The NGO wanted to reduce the challenges associated with traditional cash distribution channels, namely:
I. Most interventions/ development projects are in remote and high risk area especially during emergency response programs.
II. Low or no connectivity to the nation’s telecommunication network infrastructure.
- Cash Availability
I. Little presence or absence of financial service providers in some locations resulting in low cash volumes or inadequate liquidity.
II. High risk/danger in transporting funds to some intervention locations.
- Stakeholders/People (Beneficiaries, vendors (merchants), sub-agents, etc)
I. High illiteracy and low technology penetration by beneficiaries.
II. Risks (attacks, hunger) relating to long distance travel to seek intervention.
III. Cultural, religious and financial exclusion factors
IV. Merchants/sub-agents may not be close to intervention areas
V. Service providers (merchants, sub-agents) are not all in the formalized banking system.
The NGO was seeking:
I. Payment system/platform that is relatively easy to navigate in terms of payment process and reporting.
II. Transparency in relation to transactions processed for beneficiaries
III. Cost management in delivering development assistance
IV. Quality assurance of service provided by supplier in terms of availability and flexibility
V. Accountability and justification of use of funds
Ecobank Mali offered NGOPay, an Ecobank solution designed for NGOs:
I. Cash based transfer solutions including cards, mobile payments, vouchers (physical and electronic) and physical cash distribution.
II. Incorporation of reporting capabilities into its various products and services to provide transparency and visibility to NGO
III. Systems that ensure security of funds and product disbursement
IV. On-line and off-line modes for continuous delivery, regardless of location and connection challenges.
The digital voucher solution was a success for Ecobank’s NGO client. The NGO made a batch payment of more than 5600 transactions to beneficiaries delivered successfully to beneficiaries in remote areas of Mali – efficiently, securely, with full transparency and with full reporting and reconciliation capabilities, and to the satisfaction of the donor.