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Agent Network Journeys Toward the Last Mile: A Cross-Country Perspective

Agent  Networks are a critical interface between poor customers and digital financial services (DFS) providers. These networks enable cash-in and cash-out (CICO) transactions that allow customers to convert e-money into cash and cash into e-money—enabling the use of DFS. Therefore, the broader the reach of CICO agent networks, the broader the customer base for DFS providers.

Given that a majority of the world’s financially excluded and underserved customers live in rural areas, extending rural CICO agent networks is critical to further financial inclusion. The challenge is the difficulty most agent business models face in viably operating in many of these rural areas, which results in a large rural agent coverage gap.

This analysis by CGAP explores the journeys taken by 5 countries (China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, and Kenya) to extend the reach and quality of rural agent networks

CGAP is a global partnership of more than 30 leading development organizations that works to advance the lives of poor people through financial inclusion. Using action-oriented research, we test, learn and share knowledge intended to help build inclusive and responsible financial systems that move people out of poverty, protect their economic gains and advance broader development goals. We research and experiment to achieve proof of concept and extract lessons that can be built to scale by our partners, who apply our insights in the marketplace.