Financial inclusiveness for persons with disabilities using mobile money in Uganda
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The purpose of this study was to explore the key evolving strategies in the mobile payments for financial inclusion in Uganda, and highlight different practices as well as examine critical challenges. The objective is to draw lessons from across the various experiences by persons with disabilities in accessing finances to recommend strategies and policies to upscale financial inclusion through use of mobile money. A detailed study was carried out using a descriptive research design, with qualitative approach in data collection. Key data collection tool was through interviewing key stake holders like persons with disabilities, mobile money agents, the ministry of gender and social development official, and a representative from the national union for disabled persons in Uganda. The aim was to; a) identifying challenges faced by persons with disabilities in accessing financial services using mobile money; b) assessing the existing strategies used in financial inclusion using mobile money, and; c) to develop measures to upscale financial inclusion for persons with disabilities. Key results from the study indicated high mobile financial services illiteracy and low accessibility to mobile money by persons with disabilities. The high financial transactions in withdraws and deposits compared to other financial services like micro loans, payments, and international remittances by persons with disabilities was also a key highlight. Then Persons with disabilities representation and interventions by government and national union for disabled persons is more focused on lobbying, capacity building, networking, community based rehabilitation, and vocational training, with no significant efforts on supporting financial inclusion structures and systems for persons with disabilities. And notably, the assessment of existing key strategies and services used in financial inclusion for persons with disabilities indicated key sustainable avenues in financial inclusion for persons with disabilities. In conclusion, mobile money is a sustainable way to upscale financial inclusiveness for persons with disabilities in Uganda as its transformational and transactional effect is the nearest feel of access to financial services that can spur competitiveness and development. And to achieve that goal, many recommendation were made by different stake holders interviewed, these included; training of mobile money agents to better communicate with persons with disabilities, Improving mobile money menu with addition of audio instruction features. Another key proposition was on-boarding merchants like retailers to accept mobile money payments in order to upscale mobile business-to-business transactions. But also protection of persons with disabilities through client education and consumer protection measures is very vital. The government of Uganda should also establish inter-agency process to coordinate mobile money decisions, including the support of pilot programs to test innovative approaches that promote financial inclusion for persons with disabilities, and importantly identify and register the unbanked persons with disabilities to ease channeling support financial services to them.